Cheryl W. Thompson
- Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs
- MPA 409
Areas of Expertise
Investigative and accountability journalism, interviewing, criminal justice and political corruption reporting
Cheryl W. Thompson joined the George Washington School of Media and Public Affairs in 2013 from The Washington Post, where she has distinguished herself as an award-winning investigative journalist covering politics, crime and corruption.
Her fearless reporting led to the prosecution and imprisonment of former Prince George's County (MD) executive Jack Johnson. Thompson has more than 25 years of newspaper reporting experience, including at The Gainesville Sun (Florida), the Los Angeles Daily News, the Chicago Tribune and The Kansas City Star. She arrived at The Washington Post in 1997, where she was a Metro Reporter and National Reporter before moving to the Investigative Unit. She also served as a White House Correspondent during part of President Obama’s first term.
Thompson, who continues to do investigative projects for The Washington Post, did undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and also has a certificate in Investigative Reporting from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. She was an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown and Howard University and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Thompson has won numerous local, regional and national awards, including two Salute to Excellence awards from the National Association of Black Journalists for an examination of homicides in the nation’s capital and the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy by a D.C. police officer over a stolen minibike.
She was part of the Washington Post team that reported on a year-long series on police-involved shooting that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. In 2002, Thompson was part of a team of Washington Post reporters awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. She also is a 2011 recipient of an Emmy Award from the National Capital Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Freedom of Information Medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors.
She was elected vice president of the Investigative Reporters and Editors board of directors and also serves on the board at the Fund for Investigative Journalism. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and was named the 2017 NABJ Educator of the Year. Professor Thompson also won the GW Honey Nashman Spark a Life Award for Faculty Member of the Year in 2014.
M.S. Journalism, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
B.A. Speech Communication, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Co-author of an E-Book, "Lethal Force," The Washington Post, 2016
Co-author of an E-Book, “Guns in America,” The Washington Post, 2013
“Howard University Hospital shows symptoms of a severe crisis,”The Washington Post, March 2017
“Family asks for federal review of son's death after Tasering," The Washington Post, December 2015
“Improper techniques, increased risks," The Washington Post, November 2015
“Fixing Baltimoreans’ relationship with police next challenge for mayor," The Washington Post, May 2015
“Billy Martin: Washington's go-to lawyer when you're in trouble. Real trouble," The Washington Post Magazine, February 2015
“Dozens in D.C., Maryland paid the ultimate price for cooperating with police," The Washington Post, January 2015
“A decade later, prosecutor Luna's death still a mystery," The Washington Post Magazine, December 2013
“Old friends were at center of a network of public contracts," The Washington Post, May 2013
“Relatives of ex-MWAA official were paid $175,000-plus in no-bid contract," The Washington Post, January 2013
"D.C. airport authority employment is frequently a family affair," The Washington Post, December 2012
"Airports authority repeatedly warned over contract deficiencies," The Washington Post, November 2012
"D.C. homicides: In 15 percent of closed cases, no charges and no arrests," The Washington Post, October 2012
"As D.C. homicides decline, murder still a stubborn crime to solve and prosecute," The Washington Post, October 2012
"The story of two guns that killed police officers," The Washington Post, November 2010
"How cop killers got their guns," The Washington Post, November 2010
"Review of DeOnté Rawlings Case Paints an Ambiguous Picture," The Washington Post, April 2009
"A cop killer's remorse," The Washington Post, November 2010
"The Problem with Witness Protection," Investigative Reporters and Editors Radio Podcast, May 2015
SMPA 3242 – Investigative Journalism
SMPA 2111 – Advanced News Reporting and Writing
Poynter News University, "Using Data to Cover Police"