Washington Senior Correspondent
Michael Riley is a senior correspondent for TIME in Washington where he covers the environment, the politics of science, digital technology and the Supreme Court. Before moving to the Washington bureau in September 1995, he spent a year in Cambridge, Mass., on a Nieman Fellowship. Riley had been chief of TIME's Atlanta-based southern bureau from May 1991. He joined TIME in 1985 in Los Angeles, where he covered everything from cowboy poets to scandals involving televangelists, particularly Jim and Tammy Bakker. In September 1987 he hit the campaign trail for the first time, covering presidential hopeful Bruce Babbitt and Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis through his defeat in November 1988.
In January 1989, Riley did his first tour of duty in TIME's Washington bureau where he contributed to cover stories on the National Rifle Association, the junk mail explosion, and the 1990 cover story, "Does America Care About Its Children?" He reported and wrote a 1991 cover on the return of one of America's first Persian Gulf war casualties to his hometown in California. In addition, he has profiled former Washington Mayor Marion Barry and humorist P.J. O'Rourke, as well as the mating habits of horshoe crabs. In 1992 he took readers inside Baltimore's faltering juvenile court system and wrote a major piece on Klan leader Thom Robb. The 1992 Presidential campaign found him once again on the trail of a Democratic nominee as Riley contributed to TIME's coverage of Bill Clinton's successful bid for the White House.
A 1981 graduate of Wake Forest University, Riley spent two years working at a daily newspaper, The Dispatch, in Lexington, N.C., and then studied politics and economics for two years at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he received an MPA in 1985.