SMPA Professor Named Educator of the Year by Journalists Group

National Association of Black Journalists award goes to Cheryl W. Thompson.

Cheryl W Thompson
The National Association of Black Journalists named SMPA Professor Cheryl W. Thompson its 2017 Educator of the Year.
June 02, 2017

Cheryl W. Thompson, an associate professor of media and public affairs at the George Washington University, has been named the 2017 Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

The award is given to an educator for outstanding service, commitment and guidance in journalism.

“I’ve been a member of NABJ for a number of years so to be recognized by the organization is an honor," said Ms. Thompson, who helped to launch the GW chapter of NABJ.

Ms. Thompson joined GW's School of Media and Public Affairs in 2013, bringing with her more than two decades of newsroom experience as a prize-winning investigative journalist at The Washington Post and other newspapers. She still produces investigative projects for The Post.

Her reputation as a journalist is as a relentless reporter who works until she finds answers. She brings much of that same energy and expectation to the classroom, she said.

“I believe in pushing students out of their comfort zones. It’s the only way they’re going to be good journalists,” Ms. Thompson said.

She also stresses the importance of diversity in reporting and in newsrooms to students in her Advanced News Writing and Reporting and Investigative Reporting classes.

“For me it is important that students have a role model, that students know that you have to have a variety of voices,” she said.

Despite the technological changes that journalism has undergone, the solid journalist in Ms. Thompson is still a stickler for the basics.

Her credo is “It’s better to be factual than first.”

She stresses meeting deadlines, writing clearly, taking accurate notes--what she says are the foundations for good journalism.

“So many students want to be in this business, I want them to leave GW with a realistic idea of what professional journalism is like,” she said.


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