Variety Ups Jenelle Riley to Deputy Awards and Features Editor

Jenelle Riley Variety
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Jenelle Riley has been promoted to deputy awards and features editor at Variety.

Riley joined the industry trade’s staff in September 2013 as an associate editor in the Features department, where she reported to Steven Gaydos, V.P./executive editor. In her elevated role, she will report to Gaydos and Claudia Eller, editor-in-chief, film.

Since joining Variety, Riley has written several notable cover stories including business profiles on Oscar winners Spike Jonze, Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey as well as Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

“Jenelle is that rare combination of being a fantastic interviewer and writer, having an engaging personality and relentless energy and enthusiasm — in short, a total dynamo!” said Eller.

Riley has been active at Variety’s Oscar and Emmy Studios, coordinating and conducting panels with top talent from film and TV. She also oversees Variety’s Screening Series, conducting Q&As with many of the season’s main contenders.

“Jenelle is one of the finest entertainment journalists I’ve ever worked with and her combination of lively writing and deep knowledge of our business makes her one of Variety’s most essential editorial voices,” said Gaydos.

Prior to joining Variety, Riley spent 11 years at Backstage, the trade journal for actors. She is a frequent host for Q&As held by the SAG Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Screen Actors Guild. She is also an award-winning playwright and director, most recently landing a best director prize from the L.A. Weekly Theatre Awards in 2013 for her comedy “A Kind of Love Story.”

Riley’s new role at Variety is part of the publication’s ongoing initiative to deliver the best awards coverage in the business both online and in print. She will work closely with Awards Editor Tim Gray at Variety’s Studio at the Toronto Film Festival, taking place Sept. 5-8. A number of high-profile actors, directors, writers, producers and executives are already lined up to visit the studio.

“I am honored and humbled to be part of the Variety family, which has always been the gold standard in the entertainment world,” said Riley.

Variety’s commitment to increased awards coverage includes The Contenders site on and the new Artisans section, focusing on below-the-line talent.

(Pictured: Jenelle Riley with Norman Reedus and Aaron Paul at the Variety Studio.)

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  1. Alyssa says:

    One of the nice ones. And she does the best q&as!

  2. Merryl rothman says:

    Congrats Janelle!

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