Laird Townsend

Alum 2014, Alum 2015
2014 spring townsend 300x225

Laird is founder and director of Project Word, is a reporter and editor specializing in environmental and human rights issues. He has written, facilitated and edited complex stories for a range of publications—from the Dallas Morning News and the Boston Globe, to Mother Jones and National Geographic on-line.

After focusing on the experience of indigenous communities with climate change (2009 to 2011), the stories turned to a major human rights lawsuit against ExxonMobil (2012); Monsanto cotton, climate change, and crop insurance (2013); and an investigation of alleged fatal negligence by ExxonMobil in Papua New Guinea (2014). In February 2015 Project Word was poised to release the results of a national survey on freelance reporting, which reveals serious challenges to the public interest and potential solutions.

While at the Mesa Refuge most recently, he worked on an article called “Fruit of Broken Promises,” which will lift the veil on little-known injustices against migrant farmworkers in the United States.