After reporting for 20 years, journalist becomes professor

By Noe Ortega

Fascination and being social is what drove East Los Angeles College professor Charles Fogel to make an odd switch from journalism to mathematics.

Fogel was a reporter/editor for 20 years, where he reported news for local papers in Detroit, Louisiana, Texas and California.

His main subjects were reporting about business, politics, education and crime while being a reporter/editor.

Fogel spent a year and a half being a freelance reporter in Detroit.

He was an editor at Wayne State University for the student newspaper called South End and a small local newspaper called Medical Center News.

Fogel expressed his feelings toward small local papers being shut down because of funding, saying the best way to be informed is with a local paper for every community rather than one huge paper like the L.A. Times.

“It’s very difficult to keep a local newspaper viable in business.

“There used to be one for every little community. Now there’s just one big newspaper that’s a great newspaper, but it’s sad that we don’t have local coverage,” said Fogel.

Reporting about politics in Louisiana was his biggest challenge, but also his proudest moment as a reporter because of the difficulty of reporting politics.

Ready to Learn—East Los Angeles College Professor Charles Fogel goes over math problems in his class.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I really enjoyed telling stories. I approached math like telling stories: you always try to find some story that matters or will be interesting,” said Fogel.

Fogel teaches high-level math courses such as Statistics, Calculus and Discrete mathematics, but said that it’s difficult for him to teach lower-level math such as Math 105 and 110.

“The hardest job in the world is to teach lower-level math. It’s very hard to do that job and I recognize some of my colleagues that are really good at it,” said Fogel.

According to Fogel, he always thought about being a reporter while in college because he loved telling stories, but was also fascinated by math and science.

Fogel was a volunteer in the Natural History Museum in the vertebrate paleontology lab.

He would clean fossils and make plasters of fossils, which is a soft building material that  turns solid when dry and is used to make statues of fossils.

“The story of human beings is very interesting to me. Where we came from, where we’re going. The whole thing is the most interesting story on the planet,” said Fogel.

Fogel graduated from the University, of Michigan in 1989 with a bachelors in general studies.

Twenty years later, he got a master’s degree in mathematics at California State University, Long Beach in 2009.

At the time that he was studying to get his master’s at Cal State Long Beach, he was also teaching journalism classes at California State University, Fullerton.

“I was very interested in journalism for a long time, but the internet and other things got in the way and I thought that it was time to leave journalism,” said Fogel.

Fogel talked about the allegations that President Trump has toward “fake news media.”

“I can’t believe how so many people listen to our president and accept what he’s saying is true when it’s obviously false,” said Fogel.

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