Kara Swisher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kara Swisher
Swisher in 2019
Born (1962-12-11) December 11, 1962 (age 61)[1]
EducationGeorgetown University (BS)
Columbia University (MS)
Years active1994–present
Notable workCo-founder of Recode
Political partyDemocratic[2]
(m. 1999; div. 2017)
Amanda Katz
(m. 2020)

Kara Anne Swisher (/ˈkɛərə/ KAIR; born December 11, 1962) is an American journalist. She has covered the business of the internet since 1994. As of 2023, Swisher was a contributing editor at New York Magazine, the host of the podcast On with Kara Swisher, and the co-host of the podcast Pivot.[3]

In 2014, she co-founded Vox Media's Recode. From 2018 to 2022, she was an opinion writer for The New York Times, before re-joining Vox Media.[4] She has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the All Things Digital conference and the online publication All Things D.[3][5] A self-described "liberal, lesbian Donald Trump of San Francisco" in 2016, she expressed interest in running for political office in San Francisco.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Swisher lived in Roslyn Harbor, New York, until her father died when she was five years old. Afterward her family moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where she was raised.[7] In a 2021 interview with Bryan Elliott for Inc.'s Behind The Brand, Swisher stated that, as a child, she always wanted to work either in the military, with military intelligence, or with the CIA.[7]

She wrote for The Hoya, Georgetown's original school newspaper, until she left to write for The Georgetown Voice, the university's younger, scruffier, liberal alternative newspaper.[8]

Swisher studied propaganda[9] and received a BS in literature and journalism from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. in 1984.[10] In 1985, she received her MS in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.[11] She also "spent some time" at Duke University studying misinformation and propaganda, which Swisher stated were "always my area of study".[12]

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Swisher received a fellowship that allowed her to live almost a year in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Preparing for future employment within "the security apparatus", she attempted to learn German, but never mastered the language.[13]

In her early career, Swisher worked at the Washington City Paper in Washington, D.C. She interned at The Washington Post in 1986 and was later hired full-time.[14][15]


The Wall Street Journal[edit]

Swisher joined The Wall Street Journal in 1997, working from its bureau in San Francisco. She created and wrote Boom Town, a column devoted to the companies, personalities and culture of Silicon Valley which appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal's Marketplace section and online. During that period, she was cited as the most influential reporter covering the internet by Industry Standard magazine.[16]

In 2003, with her colleague Walt Mossberg, she launched the All Things Digital conference and later expanded it into a daily blog called AllThingsD.com. The conference featured interviews by Swisher and Mossberg of top technology executives, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison.


External videos
video icon Presentation by Swisher on aol.com, July 8, 1998, C-SPAN
video icon Q&A interview with Swisher on Burn Book, March 1, 2024, C-SPAN

She is the author of aol.com: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads and Made Millions in the War for the Web, published by Times Business Print Books in July 1998. The sequel, There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future, was published in the fall of 2003 by Crown Business Print Books. In 2021, it was announced that she signed a two-book memoir deal with Simon & Schuster.[17] The first, Burn Book: A Tech Love Story, was released in February 2024.


On January 1, 2014, Swisher and Mossberg struck out on their own with the Recode website, based in San Francisco.[18] In the spring of 2014 they held the inaugural Code Conference near Los Angeles.[19] Vox Media acquired the website in May 2015.[20] A month later in June 2015, they launched Recode Decode, a weekly podcast in which Swisher interviews prominent figures in the technology space with Stewart Butterfield featured as the first guest.[21]

In September 2018, Recode and Vox Media launched Pivot, a semi-weekly news commentary podcast co-hosted by Swisher and Scott Galloway.

In April 2020, New York Magazine announced Pivot would be joining the magazine's properties, subsequently dropping the Recode branding, and Swisher would also be joining as editor-at-large.[22] In May 2020, Swisher wrote on Twitter that she had not been involved in editing or assigning stories on Recode for many years.[23]

The New York Times[edit]

Swisher became a contributing writer to the New York Times' Opinion section in August 2018, focusing on tech.[24] She has written about topics such as Elon Musk, Kevin Systrom's departure from Instagram, Google and censorship, and an internet Bill of Rights.

In September 2020, the Times premiered Sway, a semiweekly podcast hosted by Swisher focused on the subject of power and those who wield it,[25] with Nancy Pelosi featured as her first guest.[26] Other guests have included Georgia politician and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, actor Sacha Baron Cohen, Apple CEO Tim Cook, entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, former Presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, film director Spike Lee, Parler CEO John Matze, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, USSF CSO Gen. John W. Raymond, and social activist and celebrity Monica Lewinsky.

In June 2022, Swisher announced she'd be leaving the New York Times to pursue a new project at Vox Media's New York Magazine.[27]

Vox Media[edit]

Swisher became an editor-at-large at New York Magazine and the host of On with Kara Swisher in September 2022. The first episode of 'On' premiered September 26.[28]

Other activities[edit]

Swisher has also served as a judge[29] for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's NYC BigApps competition in New York.

Swisher told Rolling Stone writer Claire Hoffman: "A lot of these people I cover are babies", Swisher says. "I always call them papier-mâché – they just wilt."[30]

Swisher appeared as herself in a 2015 episode of the HBO show Silicon Valley.[31]

In 2016, Swisher announced she planned to run for mayor of San Francisco as a Democrat in 2023. She was then described as likely to run on a "highly progressive" platform.[2][32]

Swisher wrote of her experiences working for The McLaughlin Group in a 2018 Slate article, in which she alleged that host John McLaughlin abused staff and sexually harassed women. Reflecting on his death from prostate cancer in 2016, she wrote, "I’m so glad he’s dead. Seriously, I’m glad he’s dead. He was a jackass. He deserved it."[33]

In January 2019, Swisher told people who disapproved of a Gillette advertisement, following the January 2019 Lincoln Memorial confrontation, "And to all you aggrieved folks who thought this Gillette ad was too much bad-men-shaming, after we just saw it come to life with those awful kids and their fetid smirking harassing that elderly man on the Mall: Go fuck yourselves."[34] Citing Swisher's comment as an example of how inaccurate many media accounts of the story had been, Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic Monthly observed, "You know the left has really changed in this country when you find its denizens ... lionizing the social attitudes of the corporate monolith Procter & Gamble."[35] Swisher apologized in a follow-up tweet two days later.[36]

In 2021 and 2023, Swisher hosted the official companion podcast for the third and fourth seasons of HBO's TV series Succession.[37]

Mockery of Vivek Ramaswamy[edit]

On August 24, 2023, Swisher urged her Twitter audience to come up with nicknames for Vivek Ramaswamy and proposed her own, "RamaSMARMY". Several Indian-American commentators took strong exception to her attacks, which were perceived as racially targeted.[38]

Personal life[edit]

Swisher married engineer and technology executive Megan Smith in Marin County in 1999 at a time when same-sex marriage was not legal in California.[39][40] They had additional legal wedding ceremonies in 2003 in Niagara Falls, Canada, in 2004 as part of the San Francisco 2004 same-sex weddings, and again in San Francisco, California in November 2008 in advance of California Proposition 8, which declared same-sex marriages invalid in California.[40] Swisher and Smith have two sons, Louis and Alexander.[41][42][43][44] They separated in 2014,[39] and were divorced as of 2017.[45] Swisher married Amanda Katz on October 3, 2020, with whom she has two children.[46]

In 2011, Swisher suffered a "mini-stroke" while on a flight to Hong Kong, where she was subsequently hospitalized and put on anticoagulant medication. She wrote about the experience in a remembrance of Luke Perry, after a stroke led to his death in 2019.[47][48][49]

Swisher is known for wearing dark aviator sunglasses even while indoors, explaining "I have light sensitivity a little; I just don’t like bright lights."[50][47]

Swisher, who was raised Catholic, identifies as agnostic.[51]


  • aol.com: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads, and Made Millions in the War for the Web. New York: Random House International, 1999. ISBN 9780812931914, OCLC 313499003
  • Kara Swisher and Lisa Dickey, There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for the Digital Future New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003. ISBN 9781400049646, OCLC 58726021
  • Burn Book: A Tech Love Story. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2024. ISBN 9781982163891, OCLC 1393241009



  1. ^ "BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Kara Swisher, contributing NYT opinion writer and host of the 'On With Kara Swisher' and 'Pivot' podcasts". www.msn.com. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Townsend, Tess. "Kara Swisher Is Serious About Running for Mayor, and Soon". Inc.
  3. ^ a b Schwab, Katharine (May 28, 2020). "'All the lanes are mine': Kara Swisher remains tech's most outspoken watchdog". Fast Company. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  4. ^ "Kara Swisher Leaves the New York Times to Return to Vox Media". Bloomberg.com. June 7, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  5. ^ "Kara Swisher". Wall Street Journal. December 28, 2000. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  6. ^ Baram, Marcus. "Recode's Kara Swisher really wants to run for mayor: "I'm the liberal lesbian Donald Trump of San Francisco"". Fast Company.
  7. ^ a b Elliott, Bryan (April 20, 2021). "Behind the Brand With Kara Swisher". Inc.com. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  8. ^ Dodderidge, Lili (October 5, 2010). "Top Internet Journalists Talk News". The Hoya. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  9. ^ ""I'll Walk Away From Anything": Kara Swisher Calls the Shots". Vanity Fair. March 28, 2023. Retrieved December 7, 2023.
  10. ^ "Prominent Alumni". SFS - School of Foreign Service - Georgetown University. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  11. ^ "Kara Swisher". Columbia Entrepreneurship. Archived from the original on February 5, 2020. Retrieved July 15, 2022.
  12. ^ "Artificial intelligence "can be a weapon, but it's a tool" - an interview with tech journalist Kara Swisher". VPM. October 19, 2023. Retrieved December 7, 2023.
  13. ^ "Podcast transcripts, sponsors, and audience data - Podscribe".
  14. ^ "Kara Swisher". Columbia Entrepreneurship. Archived from the original on February 5, 2020. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  15. ^ Kara Swisher (May 1, 2020). "Ryan Murphy: What if Hollywood had welcomed diversity from the beginning?". Recode Decode (Podcast). Vox Media. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  16. ^ O'Brien, Chris (October 19, 2003), "OPINION: Book Explores What Went Wrong in AOL Time Warner Merger", San Jose Mercury News, retrieved January 27, 2010
  17. ^ "Book Deals: Week of July 27, 2020". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  18. ^ Wasserman, Todd (January 1, 2014). "Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher Launch Tech News Site 'Re/code'". Mashable. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  19. ^ Hunter, Matt (May 28, 2014). "Salesforce.com CEO: I run my business on my phone". CNBC. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  20. ^ "Network Radio Executives Spencer Brown and David Landau partner with VC Michael Rolnick to launch new venture called DGital Media to create, distribute and monetize audio programs" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  21. ^ "What's the Deal With Elon Musk? Ashlee Vance Tells All on 'Re/code Decode' Podcast". Recode. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  22. ^ "Pivot Podcast Joins New York Magazine". New York Magazine. April 13, 2020. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  23. ^ @karaswisher (May 20, 2020). "While I typically ignore this type of trolling, FYI I have not edited the recode web site for many years now and am not involved in its editing or assigning at all for that long too but keep up with the bad reporting and worse writing. It's embarrassing and more than a little sad" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  24. ^ "Kara Swisher". The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  25. ^ "Introducing "Sway," a New Interview Podcast Hosted by Kara Swisher". The New York Times Company. September 10, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  26. ^ "Introducing 'Sway' With Kara Swisher". The New York Times. September 10, 2020. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  27. ^ "Kara Swisher, Tech and Media Star, to Leave The New York Times". Vanity Fair. Retrieved July 31, 2023.
  28. ^ "Vox Media Podcast Network: Kara Swisher". Retrieved July 31, 2023.
  29. ^ "Mayor Bloomberg Announces Winners of NYC BigApps 2.0 Competition". NYC.gov. March 31, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  30. ^ "Recode's Kara Swisher, Silicon Valley's Disrupter, Plots Political Move". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 8, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  31. ^ Marantz, Andrew (June 9, 2016). "How "Silicon Valley" Nails Silicon Valley". The New Yorker.
  32. ^ Green, Emily (April 14, 2016). "Tech journalist Kara Swisher plans to run for San Francisco Mayor". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  33. ^ "I Just Knew I Was Going to Surpass These Guys I Was Working For". Slate. October 18, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  34. ^ @karaswisher (January 19, 2019). "And to all you aggrieved folks who thought this Gillette ad was too much bad-men-shaming, after we just saw it come…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  35. ^ Flanagan, Caitlin (January 23, 2019). "The Media Botched the Covington Catholic Story". The Atlantic.
  36. ^ @karaswisher (January 21, 2019). "I was a complete dolt to put up this..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  37. ^ "Succession - HBO's Succession Podcast".
  38. ^ "American-Indian X users call out Kara Swisher for mocking Vivek Ramaswamy's name". Hindustan Times.
  39. ^ a b Wallace, Benjamin (July 15, 2014). "Kara Swisher Is Silicon Valley's Most Feared and Well-Liked Journalist. How Does That Work?". New York.
  40. ^ a b Swisher, Kara (November 10, 2008). "My Four Weddings, How getting gay married became an Olympic sport for me". The Daily Beast. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  41. ^ McCluskey, Eileen (October 15, 2007). "Megan Smith '86, SM '88: Pioneering change from PlanetOut to Google Earth". MIT Technology Review. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ISSN 1099-274X.
  42. ^ Hopkins, Jim (June 21, 2000). "PlanetOut CEO taps gay market Exec becomes power player in elusive $450B industry". USA Today. p. 7B. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  43. ^ Schubarth, Cromwell (September 16, 2011). "Google working on social, news reader". San Jose Business Journal.
  44. ^ "Susan Ann Ventre". Scranton Times (Obituary). January 24, 2012 – via Legacy.com.
  45. ^ Swisher, Kara (2017). "Kara Swisher Biography and Ethics Statement". re/code. Archived from the original on December 30, 2017.
  46. ^ Sherman, Jake; Palmer, Anna; Ross, Garrett; Okun, Eli (October 6, 2020). "Weekend Wedding". Playbook PM. Politico. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  47. ^ a b Ferriss, Tim (June 21, 2018). "The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Kara Swisher (#218)". The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss.
  48. ^ Nicholas Carlson, Kara Swisher Suffered A "Mini-Stroke," But She Seems To Be OK Oct 19, 2011 businessinsider.com
  49. ^ Swisher, Kara (March 5, 2019). "Opinion | Luke Perry Had a Stroke and Died. I Had One and Lived". The New York Times.
  50. ^ "Kara Swisher Is Silicon Valley's Most Feared and Well-Liked Journalist. How Does That Work?". Intelligencer. July 15, 2014.
  51. ^ "Apple goes 5G, the Feds want to break up Google Chrome, and Fareed Zakaria on lessons from 2020". Pivot--Voxmedia Podcast Network. October 13, 2020.
  52. ^ "Loeb Award Winners". UCLA Anderson School of Management. June 28, 2011. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  53. ^ Kelly, Adam (May 28, 2020). "Announcing Fast Company's first-ever Queer 50 list". Fast Company. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  54. ^ "Announcing Fast Company's second annual Queer 50 list". Fast Company. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  55. ^ "Ms. Swisher". AMACAD.org. Retrieved February 8, 2023.

External links[edit]