Julia Baird (journalist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Julia Baird
Julia Baird 2019 credit Susan Papazian (cropped).jpg
Baird in 2019
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
EducationRavenswood School for Girls
Alma materUniversity of Sydney
OccupationJournalist, author
Years active1998–present
EmployerAustralian Broadcasting Corporation
Joshua Sparks
ParentBruce Baird
RelativesMike Baird (brother)

Julia Woodlands Baird is an Australian journalist, broadcaster and author. She contributes to The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald and is a regular host of The Drum, a television news review program on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Her non-fiction work includes a bestselling memoir[1] and a biography on Queen Victoria.

Early life and education[edit]

Baird was born in Sydney, the middle child of Judith (née Woodlands) and Bruce Baird, deputy leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party. Along with her brothers, her early childhood was spent in Rye, New York, while her father was Australian trade commissioner in Manhattan.[2][3] After the family returned to Australia in 1980, Baird attended Ravenswood School for Girls.[4] Her HSC results placed her in the top 20 students in NSW.[5] Baird earned a BA degree and later a PhD in history from the University of Sydney.[6] Her honours thesis, titled "Pigeons, Priests and Prophets: the politicisation of women in the Anglican church", examined the campaign to have women ordained in that denomination.[7] Her doctoral thesis was on women in politics and how they are treated by mainstream media.[8][9] In 2005, she was a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University researching the globalisation of American opinion in the lead up to the Iraq War.[3][10] In 2018, the University of Divinity made Baird an honorary Doctor of Divinity for her "contribution as a public intellectual to the wider community in the area of religion".[11]


Baird began her career as a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald in 1998,[8] winning her first Walkley Award for her online coverage of the 1998 Australian federal election.[12] By 2000, she was editor of the opinion pages.[13] She also worked as a religious commentator for Triple J and as a freelancer for ABC Radio.[10]

In 2006, Baird moved to the United States and became deputy editor at Newsweek in New York City, working there until it ceased print publication in 2012.[8] She has written for The Philadelphia Inquirer[13] and been a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.[14] She has written about gender and political topics, such as misogyny in Australian politics,[15] transgender soldiers in the American military[16] and Donald Trump's political strategy.[17] More recently, Baird has written on religious topics, such as suffering and doubt.[18][19]

Returning from the United States in 2011, she became host of the ABC radio program Sunday Profile and began presenting The Drum, a current affairs television show.[20][21][22]

Since 2016, Baird has prepared several in-depth reports on domestic violence in Australia, especially in its connection with religious communities. Her joint reporting for the "Religion and domestic violence investigation" earned four Walkley Our Watch awards, including the Gold Our Watch, in 2018.[23] Baird's reporting on religious minority groups includes an ongoing investigation into the experience of a middle eastern Christian family as they grieve the unexplained death of their daughter at a childcare facility.[24][25]


Baird is a writer of nonfiction. Her first book was Media Tarts: How the Australian Press Frames Female Politicians and was published in 2004.[10]

In 2010, while living in Philadelphia, she began research for a biography on Queen Victoria for which she was given access to the Royal Archives in Windsor.[26][27] Random House published Victoria: The Queen in 2016. It was named a book of the year by the literary critics of the New York Times.[8][28]

Her third book draws on Baird's personal experience of life-threatening illness and "the things that give us comfort, that make us strong".[29] Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark was published in Australia in March 2020.[30] The title became a best seller soon after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns began.[30] Phosphorescence was named non-fiction book of the year in the 2021 Indie Book Awards[31] and won both the Book of the Year and the General Nonfiction Book of the Year at the 2021 Australian Book Industry Awards.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Baird's father, Bruce Baird, was a cabinet minister in the Greiner and Fahey governments before serving in federal politics.[33] Baird's older brother is Mike Baird, who was the 44th Premier of New South Wales and later became CEO of a Christian aged-care charity, Hammondcare.[34][35] Her younger brother, Steve, heads International Justice Mission in Australia, an anti modern slavery organisation.[36] She has two children.[13] Along with her parents and siblings, Baird openly identifies as a Christian.[37][19] Baird has been a strong critic of conservative Christian traditions and has campaigned for the ordination of women in the Sydney diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia.[38][21]

In 2015, Baird disclosed in her New York Times column that she was recovering from surgery for cancer.[39] On 19 January 2017, her brother revealed that Baird's cancer had recurred.[40]


  • Baird, Julia (2004). Media Tarts: How the Australian Press Frames Female Politicians. Sydney: Scribe Publications Pty Ltd. ISBN 1920769234. OCLC 57206438.
  • Baird, Julia (2016). Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire. Random House. ISBN 978-1400069880. OCLC 1009844827.
  • Baird, Julia (2020). Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark. Fourth Estate. ISBN 9781460710890.


  1. ^ Christopher, Lissa (5 June 2020). "Lunch with Julia Baird: author of Phosphorescence, promoter of awe". The Sydney Morning Herald.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Wood, Stephanie (26 October 2012). "The son rises". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b Richard Fidler (21 November 2012). "Journalist Julia Baird was deputy editor of US magazine, Newsweek". Conversations (Podcast). ABC. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Author and commentator, Julia Baird (Class of 1987)". newscentre.ravenswood.nsw.edu.au. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  5. ^ Dye, Jordan Baker, Nathanael Cooper, Josh (8 December 2018). "'Lukewarm and disappointing': Famous Aussies remember their HSC". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Julia Baird". ABC Radio National. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Trove". trove.nla.gov.au. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d Overington, Caroline (11 October 2010). "Ten Questions: Julia Baird". The Australian. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Browsing Postgraduate Theses by author "Baird, Julia Woodlands"". ses.library.usyd.edu.au. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "Columnist Julia Baird joins local ABC radio". 9 February 2006. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Dr Julia Baird awarded the Doctor of Divinity". VOX: University of Divinity. 18 March 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Walkley Winners Archive". www.walkleys.com. Retrieved 9 November 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ a b c Capper, Sarah (15 November 2012). "A Bonza Baird". Victorian Women's Trust. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  14. ^ "News about Julia Baird, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times
  15. ^ Baird, Julia (5 July 2013). "In Australia, Misogyny Lives On". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  16. ^ Baird, Julia (1 February 2014). "The Courage of Transgender Soldiers". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  17. ^ Baird, Julia (7 May 2016). "Donald Trump up close: he thinks you will love him". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  18. ^ Baird, Julia (27 August 2012). "No Place for Spirited Women". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  19. ^ a b Baird, Julia (25 September 2014). "Opinion | Doubt as a Sign of Faith (Published 2014)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  20. ^ "Julia Baird". Q+A. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  21. ^ a b Coultan, Mark (3 September 2015). "Julia Baird reveals cancer-beating battle". Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  22. ^ "The Drum". ABC Television. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  23. ^ "2018 Our Watch Awards". About the ABC. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Investigation into death at Sydney childcare centre leads to charges". www.abc.net.au. 28 October 2020. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  25. ^ "Jozef and Anet dropped their daughter off at child care. It was the last time they saw her alive". www.abc.net.au. 17 December 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  26. ^ Overington, Caroline (11 October 2010). "Ten Questions: Julia Baird". The Australian. Retrieved 10 November 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ Jabour, Bridie (15 November 2016). "Julia Baird: Queen Victoria would have been a 'nasty woman' in Trumpian terms". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  28. ^ Kakutani, Michiko; Garner, Dwight; Senior, Jennifer; Maslin, Janet (14 December 2016). "Times Critics' Top Books of 2016 (Published 2016)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  29. ^ Jabour, Bridie (6 April 2020). "Julia Baird on finding light in the dark: 'Coronavirus will leave a massive psychic scar'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  30. ^ a b Christopher, Lissa (5 June 2020). "Lunch with Julia Baird: author of Phosphorescence, promoter of awe". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  31. ^ "Pip Williams and The Dictionary of Lost Words are the big winners at the Indie Book Awards 2021". The AU Review. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  32. ^ "'Phosphorescence' wins 2021 ABIA Book of the Year". Books+Publishing. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  33. ^ "Bruce Baird to replace Tom Harley on federal Liberal executive". Australian Financial Review. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  34. ^ "Family illnesses behind Baird's retirement". NewsComAu. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  35. ^ Loussikian, Kylar (21 April 2020). "Former NSW premier Mike Baird to lead aged care charity". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  36. ^ Chancellor, Jonathan (29 July 2020). "Margin Call". The Australian. Retrieved 10 November 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  37. ^ Dickson, John (20 November 2017). "Why Julia Baird is Wrong about Christian Support for Same-Sex Marriage". ABC Religion & Ethics. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  38. ^ "ABC = Anything (but) Biblical Christianity". The Spectator Australia. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  39. ^ Farrell, Paul (3 September 2015). "Journalist Julia Baird reveals cancer diagnosis that had her 'gripped with terror'". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  40. ^ Burke, Liz (19 January 2017). "Family illnesses the reason behind Mike Baird's shock resignation". news.com.au. Retrieved 19 January 2017.

External links[edit]