Cheryl W. Thompson

Adjunct Professor

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 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.

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, Fla.  She has been an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown and Howard universities, 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 minbike.

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.


M.S. Journalism, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1984
B.A. Speech Communication, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1982



Co-author of an E-Book, “Guns in America,” The Washington Post, 2013


"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