Rochelle Sharpe is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience.
Now a freelance writer in Brookline, MA, she has worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Business Week and USA Today. For 13 years, she was based in Washington, D.C., writing extensively about health, labor, and various social issues. A pioneer in computer-assisted reporting, she has written many groundbreaking and investigative articles throughout her career, some of which have been discussed at Congressional hearings, as well as on Oprah and the David Letterman show. She also has worked as a journalism professor, editor, and writing coach, and helped create an investigative reporting workshop for high school students at Boston University.
Rochelle often focuses on stories that go unnoticed, rarely mentioned in press releases. Sometimes, these are quirky features such as bartering for health care or figuring out dog custody after divorce. But such pieces usually have a serious underlying point, such as one about a woman who sued her company after being fired for severe body odor – a case that tested the boundaries of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Throughout her career, she has honed in on nascent policy or ethical questions spawned by medical or technological advances, such as whether surrogate parenting should be regulated, which she explored during her coverage in the late 1980s of the Baby M case, or the impact of bogus health apps sold in the iTunes store – a story she wrote recently for The Washington Post.
She frequently relies on computer analyses to take her journalism beyond the anecdotal. She has used computers to delve into such topics as child abuse, police brutality, and unnecessary medical testing. To investigate child abuse, she and a Gannett News Service colleague performed a computer analysis of nearly 50,000 U.S. death certificates to help explore why the nation’s medical examiner system fails to detect so many child abuse murders. The resulting series won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. At the Wall Street Journal, Rochelle analyzed employment records of Fortune 500 companies to show that blacks were the only minority to disproportionally lose jobs during the 1990-91 recession. That story spurred congressional hearings and was featured in an op-ed in The Washington Post and a National Urban League’s State of Black America book.
Rochelle’s freelance work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including U.S. News & World Report, Ms. Magazine and The New Republic.
Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, Rochelle graduated with honors from Yale University. She has received numerous accolades throughout her career, including a National Headliner award, a White House Correspondents journalism prize, an EMMA award from the National Women’s Political Caucus, and the Best of Gannett. In 2012-2013, she was a Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT, where she studied the intersection of health and technology.
She lives in Brookline, Ma., with her husband and two daughters.