Cheryl W. Thompson, Imani M. Cheers and Emily Thorson to Join Faculty

Investigative Reporter, Multimedia Producer and Election Researcher Begin Teaching Fall 2013

May 17, 2013

The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs is pleased to announce the addition of three new faculty members who will significantly expand the school’s expertise and scholarship in key media and public affairs disciplines, such as investigative journalism, multimedia reporting, and political communication.

Cheryl W. Thompson joins the School of Media and Public Affairs 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 in 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 a part of President Obama’s first term.

“Investigative skills will always be in demand,” Thompson said.  “I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned over the years with my students.”

Thompson, who will continue to do investigative projects for The Washington Post, is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and a master’s in journalism.  She also has a certificate in Investigative Reporting from the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla.  Thompson has been an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown and Howard universities, and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  In 2002, Thompson was part of a team of Washington Post reporters awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.  She also is the recipient of two Salute to Excellence awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and a 2011 Emmy Award from the National Capital Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Imani M. Cheers is a former PBS NewsHour executive, where she managed a team of reporters, created a media literacy curriculum and directed a participatory multimedia journalism program for elementary, secondary and post-secondary students.  She has 14 years of multimedia work under her belt, having produced music videos, commercials, documentary shorts and educational videos for a variety of purposes.  Cheers started her career as a director and producer for Washington University in St. Louis television and has written for Newsweek and USA Today.  She has also served as a producer and writer for Howard University Television.  Cheers holds an undergraduate degree in Photography from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as graduate degrees in African Studies and Research and in Mass Communications and Media Studies from Howard University.  She also has a certificate in Women’s Studies from Howard University.

“I am thrilled to be working with a dynamic and eclectic group of experts and professionals at the School of Media and Public Affairs,” said Cheers.  “I especially look forward to my interactions with very bright, talented students, honing their multimedia skills in an ever-changing media environment.”

Emily Thorson was most recently at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her Ph.D. in both Communication and Political Science.  Her research explores how voters draw on information to form opinions about politics, and what the media can do to ensure that citizens are fully informed.  Thorson’s current research focuses on how misinformation can affect attitudes even after it is successfully corrected by creating "belief echoes."  She also holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

“GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs is one of the best political communication programs in the country,” said Thorson.  “Their efforts to bring together theory and practice are unparalleled, and I’m excited to be teaching just steps away from the White House, the State Department, and other powerful political institutions.”

“Our faculty have collectively recognized the need to bring on board a new generation of talent with deep knowledge and understanding of the rapidly evolving digital media and political landscape,” said Frank Sesno, director of GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs.  “Professionals like Cheryl, Imani and Emily are not easy to find.  They all possess that rare combination of intellectual heft, ability to convey to students a passion for their subject matter, and terrific educational and professional backgrounds.  Our students will really appreciate the expertise and experience they bring to the classroom.”

The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs teaches how ideas and information are communicated through the media.  The school combines liberal arts education with professional training, promoting a combination of theory and practice through its master’s and two undergraduate degree programs.  The faculty consists of award-winning journalists and internationally recognized research scholars.