Michael Barbaro

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Michael Barbaro
Born (1979-10-12) October 12, 1979 (age 42)
EducationYale University (BA)
OccupationJournalist, podcast host
Years active2002–present
EmployerThe New York Times
Known forHost of The Daily
Timothy Levin
(m. 2014; div. 2018)

Lisa Tobin (2018-present)

Michael Barbaro (born October 12, 1979)[1][2] is an American journalist and host of The New York Times news podcast, The Daily, one of the most popular podcasts in the United States.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Barbaro grew up in North Haven, Connecticut. His mother, Jean, worked as a library media specialist at Anna Reynolds Elementary School in Newington, Connecticut, and his father, Frank, was a New Haven, Connecticut city firefighter.[1] His mother is Jewish and Barbaro identifies as Jewish.[5][6][7] Barbaro has a sister, Tracy Barbaro, who works at Harvard University as a research lab coordinator.[1][8] In middle school, he and his sister delivered the New Haven Register every weekday at 6am.[3] Both attended Hamden Hall Country Day School in Hamden, Connecticut.[9]

High school and college journalism[edit]

In high school, Barbaro wrote for Hamden Hall's official newspaper, The Advent, and he – along with classmate and future New York Times colleague Ross Douthat – also co-founded and ran the school's underground newspaper, La Verité.[9] As a teenager, Barbaro aspired to be the Times' Jerusalem Bureau Chief.[6]

He graduated from Yale University in 2002 with a degree in history.[10] While at Yale, he reported for the Yale Daily News and later became its editor-in-chief, overseeing a staff of nearly 100 student writers.[9]


2002–2016: Reporter[edit]

After his college graduation, Barbaro joined The Washington Post in 2002 as a reporter covering the biotechnology industry.[10] In 2005, he joined The New York Times, where he first covered Walmart extensively until 2007 for its Business section. Next, he covered New York City Hall and the American retail industry.[9][11][12] Later, he became a national political correspondent for the Times.[13] During the 2016 United States presidential election, Barbaro frequently wrote front-page articles and became one of the most prominent Times reporters covering Donald Trump and the election.[12]

2016–present: Podcast host[edit]

The Run-Up[edit]

In August 2016, The New York Times launched The Run-Up, a twice-a-week political podcast that Barbaro hosted for the final three months before the presidential election in November.[14]

The Daily[edit]

In February 2017, Barbaro began hosting The Daily, the Times' first podcast to air five days a week.[15] In its first year, The Daily attracted an audience of one million listeners a day.[16] The podcast, which has 20–30-minute-long episodes, has experienced tremendous success and was the #1 podcast in the United States for every month of 2019.[4][17] Despite the Times' various other podcasts, most of the newspaper's audio revenue is from The Daily.[12]

The Daily has seen even greater success during the COVID-19 pandemic.[18] TIME said: "Barbaro and his team at the Times have established themselves as the most trusted voices in podcasting at a time when we as a country are desperate for information."[19] In August 2020, the newspaper's president and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien noted that at the time, The Daily had more than 3.5 million subscribers every day, a "vastly larger" audience than both the Times' daily and Sunday paper.[20] The Daily was the most popular U.S. news podcast for both Spotify and Apple listeners in 2020.[18] In January 2021, Barbaro apologized after privately pressuring some journalists to pull back criticism of the New York Times podcast Caliphate.[21]

Public image[edit]

Barbaro is known for his distinctive voice, frequently described as "dulcet", and his "staccato" speech style.[4][22][23][24][19] His success with The Daily and distinct appearance also lead many to compare him to Ira Glass, host and producer of This American Life.[12][4]

In the past few years since The Daily launched, Barbaro has received significant media coverage. He has made sold-out public appearances around the country,[25] and a wide range of media outlets have interviewed him about The Daily, journalism, and politics. He has been featured on television shows such as Late Night with Seth Meyers,[26] CBS This Morning,[27] and PBS NewsHour.[13] Additionally, he has been featured at South by Southwest (SXSW),[28] Vox's Recode Decode podcast,[3] and NPR's talk show 1A.[29] The New Yorker also ran an article entitled: "An Appreciation of Michael Barbaro and The Daily."[30]

In November 2018, Liev Schreiber portrayed Barbaro on Saturday Night Live.[31]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2018, Barbaro won a duPont-Columbia University Award, one of the most prestigious awards in journalism, for his work on The Daily. Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which administers the award, called The Daily "one of the signature achievements in podcasting this year," and said that the podcast is "raising the journalistic bar and inspiring a wave of imitators."[32]

Barbaro gave the 2019 UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism commencement speech[33] and co-hosted the 2020 duPont-Columbia Awards with CNN's Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour.[34]

Vox ranked him number 67 on their 2017 Recode 100 List,[35] People Magazine ranked him one of the "15 Sexiest Newsmen Alive" in 2017,[36] and Crain's New York Business named him as a member of its 40 Under 40 List for 2018.[37]

Personal life[edit]

In October 2014, Barbaro married Timothy Levin, a fellow Yale graduate. Levin, eight years Barbaro's senior, is the founder of Bespoke Education, a tutoring and test prep company.[1] In July 2018, it was reported that Barbaro and Levin had since divorced. In a June 2019 interview with Evening Standard, Barbaro mentioned that it "wasn't a coincidence" that he and his husband broke up shortly after The Daily launched. He said: “[The show] was a massive change, and it exposed things to me about my life. It made me reflect on who I was. Anytime you go through a major life change it tests every relationship."[38]

After his relationship with Levin ended, Barbaro began a relationship with his coworker and The Daily executive producer, Lisa Tobin.[39] They both report to the same boss, Sam Dolnick.[40] A New York profile on Barbaro from January 2020 reported that Barbaro and Tobin are engaged and bought an apartment together in Brooklyn in 2019.[4] Regarding Barbaro's sexual identity, the article noted, "[Barbaro] declines to define his sexual orientation or whether he considers it to have shifted."[4]

As reported on The Daily by Barbaro himself on May 7, 2021, Lisa Tobin and Barbaro welcomed a baby named Tobin Barbaro. He wrote in the May 28, 2021 newsletter for The Daily, "My wife and I had a baby," confirming that he and Tobin had gotten married.[41] He took paternity leave on and off from The Daily for much of 2021.[42]


  1. ^ a b c d "Michael Barbaro, Timothy Levin". The New York Times. October 19, 2014. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  2. ^ Barbaro, Michael (October 12, 2017). "This is what happens on your birthday when you work with the best producers in audio". @mikiebarb. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Recode Staff (June 29, 2018). "The New York Times' The Daily podcast host Michael Barbaro talks with Kara Swisher". Vox. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Schneier, Matthew (January 21, 2020). "The Voice of the Podcast Generation". Intelligencer. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  5. ^ Barbaro, Michael (June 30, 2017). "I'm Jewish!". @mikiebarb. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Barbaro at the Gate: Bloomberg's Times Gadfly Lands on Romney". Observer. September 28, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  7. ^ "Michael Barbaro: 2020 Through a Jewish Lens". Eventbrite. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  8. ^ "Tracy Barbaro". oeb.harvard.edu. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d "Meet Michael Barbaro, Class of 1998, Recipient of the 2011 Alumni Achievement Award". Hamden Hall Country Day School. April 25, 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Michael Barbaro | WDET". wdet.org. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  11. ^ "Michael Barbaro | Keppler Speakers". www.kepplerspeakers.com. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d "How The Daily's Michael Barbaro Became the Ira Glass of The New York Times". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Michael Barbaro, journalist". Brief but Spectacular. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  14. ^ Grinapol, Corinne. "With 3 Months to Go, New York Times Introduces Election Podcast The Run-Up". Adweek. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  15. ^ "'Trying to disrupt the news': How The New York Times is approaching its new daily podcast". Digiday. January 30, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  16. ^ "Paramount & Stateside Theatres". Paramount Theatre Austin. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  17. ^ "Michael Barbaro and 'The Daily' Podcast Team on Launching 'The Weekly' FX Series, Working With a Romantic Partner". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Kerry Flynn. "What's next for America's favorite news podcast". CNN. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  19. ^ a b "The 10 Best Podcasts of 2020". Time. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  20. ^ Flynn, Kerry (August 5, 2020). "New York Times' digital revenue exceeds print for first time ever". CNN. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  21. ^ Tani, Maxwell (January 16, 2021). "'Daily' Host Apologizes After Public Radio Stations Blast New York Times". The Daily Beast. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  22. ^ Quah, Nicholas (February 12, 2018). "Vox Media to Launch Daily News Podcast Called Today, Explained". Vulture. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "A Day in the Life of The Daily's Michael Barbaro". The Prompt Magazine. June 3, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  24. ^ Zeglen, Julie (July 15, 2020). "Introducing 'Technical.ly On the Record,' our new interview series taking you inside the reporter's virtual notebook". Technical.ly. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "33. Michael Barbaro". out.com. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  26. ^ "Michael Barbaro Talks 'The Daily' on "Late Night with Seth Meyers"". May 19, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  27. ^ CBS This Morning (February 11, 2017). "Michael Barbaro on latest hurdles facing Trump administration" – via YouTube.
  28. ^ Michael Barbaro & Rukmini Callimachi | "The Daily" Live on Stage | SXSW 2018, retrieved August 6, 2019
  29. ^ "1A, The Daily and a News Cycle That Never Sleeps". 1A. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  30. ^ Mead, Rebecca (August 21, 2017). "An Appreciation of Michael Barbaro and 'The Daily'". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  31. ^ Saturday Night Live (November 10, 2018). "The Poddys". YouTube.
  32. ^ Michael Barbaro – 2018 duPont-Columbia Awards Acceptance Speech, retrieved August 6, 2019
  33. ^ 2019 Commencement: Michael Barbaro, retrieved August 6, 2019
  34. ^ "The 2020 duPont-Columbia Awards". Vimeo. 2020.
  35. ^ Kafka, Peter (December 6, 2017). "Michael Barbaro is the star of The Daily, the New York Times' breakout podcast hit". Vox. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  36. ^ "Their Copy Is Hot: Get the Scoop on the 15 Sexiest Newsmen Alive". People. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  37. ^ "40 Under 40 - Michael Barbaro". Crain's New York Business. March 25, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  38. ^ "The Daily host Michael Barbaro on podcasting and changing the news". London Evening Standard. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  39. ^ Mohr, Ian (July 27, 2018). "'The Daily' host Michael Barbaro splits from husband, dating female producer". Page Six. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  40. ^ "Michael Barbaro and 'The Daily' Podcast Team on Launching 'The Weekly' FX Series, Working With a Romantic Partner". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  41. ^ Barbaro, Michael (May 28, 2021). "Where's Michael?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  42. ^ Klein, Charlotte (November 2, 2021). ""They Want It to Be a Hit": What Happened to The New York Times' Grand Podcast Ambitions?". Vanity Fair Blogs. Retrieved November 7, 2021.