Hi there. My name is Kevin Townsend, but you already see that URL. With such a white bread name, I need to throw an "S" in the middle to claim internet real estate like this site and my Twitter handle. Hunter Thompson included his "S" for the same reason. Very ahead of his time.
I'm a journalist, with a focus on data, audio, and narrative. Mostly, I organize words and numbers on a computer in ways that hopefully spark an interest for someone else seeing those words and numbers on their computer.
Before becoming a journalist, I was a senior analyst at Cornerstone Research, where I conducted economic research for high-profile lawsuits. The work was typically confidential, but sometimes I get to talk about it, cough cough. While there, I also worked with Stanford business, law, and economics professors to produce original research on M&A litigation and prepare a major think tank summit. My cases were a diverse mix, but often related to mortgage-backed securities, antitrust issues, and private equity.
While at Cornerstone, I wrote a long-form story on Medium about airplane accidents that became one of the site's most read articles and led to a surreal spate of national interviews on CNN, CBS, NBC, and other networks. James Fallows wrote about my piece in The Atlantic, calling it "riveting." I also had the distinct joy of being interviewed for Diane Sawyer from the conference room of my economic consulting job on my very last day as an employee.
I studied economics, environmental science, and writing at Stanford. After graduating, as a side-project during work, I co-founded and act as Creative Director for the popular podcast True Story, which highlights amateur storytellers through events held around the world. The podcast has millions of downloads and well over 700,000 followers on SoundCloud. We consistently rank as a top podcast on iTunes and often feature on their homepage alongside other favorite podcasts I admire. BuzzFeed ranked True Story the #6 storytelling podcast.
I recently graduated from Columbia with a Master's of Science in Journalism. I was a Brown Scholar at the new Brown Institute, a collaboration between Columbia Journalism School and Stanford Engineering School.
I tend to write pieces involving economics, politics, environmental affairs, and foreign policy, but appreciate a good story of any stripe. This site is meant as a gallery of my writing and some other work. My email contact is included below. Feel free to reach out if you:
- Want to share a story with me.
- Are a member of the media with an inquiry.
- Want to drink well-made black coffee and discuss how generally awesome trees are.
I'm doing that last one most of the time anyway.