Journalism Prof Comes Full Circle at Pierce College

In 1994, deli waitress and telemarketer Michelle Hoffman began her journalism studies at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Her first class was Journalism 101, taught by veteran newsman Rob O’Neil.

Last fall, Hoffman took over for the retiring O’Neil and now teaches the very same J101 class. For a recent contest sponsored by the Poynter Institute’s online training site News University, which she uses in her classroom, Hoffman retold her inspiring story, earning honorable mention in NewsU’s “Second Stories.” From her essay:

I eventually settled into freelance real estate writing for the Los Angeles Times and other national publications. My life changed dramatically, but I remained consistently close to my former college professor and returned to LA Pierce for EIC interviews and JACC competitions whenever asked. During these visits, Professor O’Neil would always ask the same question: “When are you going to go back to school, get a Master’s degree, and teach a journalism course for us?”

Great stuff. Hoffman actually transferred in 1995 from Pierce to CSUN, where she earned both her Bachelor’s and, more recently, that Master’s.