Riley covered the capital in Carson City for the Associated Press for 37 years, a stretch that included six governors and 19 regular legislative sessions. He joined the AP in 1970 after serving in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam. With his degree in English literature from St. Mary’s College in California and after a short stint with the Vallejo Times-Herald, where his father was managing editor and his mother was a columnist, Brendan went to work in the San Francisco AP bureau. He later covered then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan in Sacramento before transferring to Carson City in 1972. He documented spending by lobbyists, missteps by governors and malfeasance by lawmakers. He searched for missing aviator Steve Fossett, climbed mountains with a heart transplant victim and documented history being made at five national political conventions.