Diara J. Townes

  1. Adjunct Faculty

Diara J. Townes is a Research Consultant for the Disinfo Defense League, a program of the Media Democracy Fund, that works to disrupt online racialized disinformation infrastructure and campaigns that deliberately target Black, Latinx, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and other communities of color.

In 2022, Townes served as the community engagement manager with Bloc by Block News, building relationships with community leaders and residents of Baltimore City by developing effective editorial engagement strategies with crowd-focused campaigns.

While in the role of research manager, Townes provided research and digital content support for academics, elected officials, and philanthropists for the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder, whose final report was published in November 2021.

She was also the community engagement lead and an investigative researcher for the nonprofit misinformation research organization First Draft, looking into disinformation around U.S. election issues, breaking news events, public health, and climate science.

Townes has an M.A. in Social [now Engagement] Journalism from the Newmark J-School. She is the 2019 recipient of the J-School’s Newsweek Alumni Prize in journalistic achievement. For her social journalism practicum, she co-created the resource website, TheRockawayProject.org, for marginalized residents of the Rockaways impacted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

She has a bachelor’s degree in marine and environmental science from Hampton University, an HBCU.