Kathy Barks Hoffman’s love of journalism started early. She took her first journalism class in eighth grade. A year later, she moved from Santa Monica, California, where she was born, to the farm near Goshen, Indiana, that had been in her family since 1853. She was involved early as a reporter and photographer at her high school newspaper and was editor her senior year.
Hoffman earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Ball State University in 1978, graduating magna cum laude. She was a reporter, copy editor and managing editor at the Ball State Daily News and spent a term living in Indianapolis covering the Indiana legislature.
A summer internship with The Goshen News led to jobs with The Vidette-Messenger in Valparaiso, Indiana, and the Palladium-Item in Richmond, Indiana.
Hoffman joined the Lansing State Journal in 1984. As a political and special projects reporter, she won AP and Best of Gannett awards for investigative and public service reporting. That earned her a place in The Detroit News’ Lansing Bureau from 1994 to 1995 as a database and political reporter. In 1990, she earned her master’s degree in American Studies from Michigan State University while working fulltime.
In 1995, Hoffman began a 17-year run as The Associated Press’ Lansing correspondent. She oversaw the Statehouse Bureau and wrote news. She was named Michigan AP Staffer of the Year in 2001.
Hoffman covered six national political conventions, was a panelist on WKAR’s “Off the Record” show for 26 years and spoke regularly to incoming lawmakers, university students and others about the role of media.
Hoffman has worked in public relations since 2012 and is vice president at Martin Waymire.