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Thomson attended American University from 1975 till 1979, graduating in Spring 1980 with a degree in visual communications and cinema studies.
He was known as Desson Howe until 2003 when, after reuniting with his birth father, he changed his name to Desson Patrick Thomson.
Thomson started working for The Washington Post in 1983 as a copy aide for the Style section, and by 1984, was writing freelance articles for the paper. In 1987, he became a film critic for the paper. He took an early buyout in 2008 and became a speechwriter for the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Louis Susman, from February 2010 until November. In December 2010, he joined the Policy Planning Office of the U.S. Department of State as a speechwriter for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In February 2012, he became a speechwriter and Senior Advisor for Content Development for the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
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