Prior to joining NPR in January 2019, Cheryl W. Thompson spent 22 years at The Washington Post and was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for National reporting for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She’s written extensively about law enforcement, political corruption and guns, and was a White House correspondent during Barack Obama’s first term. Her investigative series that traced guns used to kill more than 500 police officers in the U.S. earned her an Emmy, National Headliner, IRE and other awards. In 2015, her reporting found nearly one person a week died in the U.S. after being Tasered by police. The story was part of a yearlong series on fatal shootings by police that won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. In 2017, her examination of Howard University Hospital revealed myriad problems with the storied facility, including that it had the highest rate of death lawsuits per bed than other DC hospitals. Her 2018 project published in The Washington Post Sunday Magazine investigated the unsolved serial murders of six black girls in the nation’s capital nearly 50 years ago. The piece won an SPJ Washington Dateline award for local reporting and a Salute to Excellence award for investigative reporting from the National Association of Black Journalists.
In 2018, Thompson was elected the first black president of Investigative Reporters and Editors. She was re-elected to a second term in 2019. She also serves as Vice President of the Fund for Investigative Journalism. She was named NABJ’s Educator of the Year in 2017 and has won several other teaching excellence awards.
Thompson, a Chicago native, has a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and a master’s in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.