Diara J. Townes is a program manager for Aspen Digital with the Aspen Institute. She supports and coordinates the research needs of the Aspen Commission on Information Disorder and a variety of new and ongoing media initiatives in Washington, DC.
Previously, Townes was an investigative researcher and the community engagement lead for the nonprofit misinformation research organization First Draft. She researched disinformation around U.S. election issues, breaking news events, and misinformation in 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. As part of her social journalism practicum, she co-created the resource website, TheRockawayProject.org, for marginalized residents of the Rockaways impacted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Townes has a bachelor’s degree in marine and environmental science from Hampton University.