Michael Barbaro

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Barbaro
Annie Brown, Kevin Roose, and Michael Barbaro (left to right) in 2018
Born (1979-10-12) October 12, 1979 (age 44)
EducationYale University (BA)
Occupation(s)Journalist, podcast host
Years active2002–present
EmployerThe New York Times
Known forHost of The Daily
Timothy Levin
(m. 2014; div. 2018)
Lisa Tobin
(m. 2020)

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. His father, Frank, was a New Haven, Connecticut city firefighter.[1] His mother is Jewish and Barbaro identifies as Jewish.[5][6][7] Barbaro's sister, Tracy Barbaro, 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. Barbaro, 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, he 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 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 the Times' business section. Next, he reported on 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 on the topic and became one of the most prominent Times reporters covering 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. The podcast ran until the presidential election in November 2016.[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 episodes that typically are 30 minutes long, has experienced tremendous success and was the #1 podcast in the United States for every month of 2019.[4][17] The Daily was the most popular U.S. news podcast for both Spotify and Apple listeners in 2020 and the #2 podcast in the United States.[18][19] Although the Times' has various other podcasts, most of its audio revenue in mid-2019 was from The Daily.[12]

The Daily has seen even greater success during the COVID-19 pandemic.[19] 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."[20] 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.[21]

In January 2021, Barbaro apologized after privately pressuring some journalists to pull back criticism of the New York Times podcast Caliphate.[22]

Public image[edit]

Barbaro is known for his distinctive voice,[23] frequently described as "dulcet", and his "staccato" speech style.[4][24][25][26][20] His success with The Daily and distinct appearance also led many to compare him to Ira Glass, host and producer of This American Life.[12][4] When Barbaro was growing up, his grandfather would criticize him for using "um" or "you know," so he often pauses when speaking to avoid using filler words.[27]

Since The Daily launched, Barbaro has received significant media coverage. He has made sold-out public appearances around the country,[28] 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,[29] CBS This Morning,[30] and PBS NewsHour.[13] Additionally, he has been featured at South by Southwest (SXSW),[31] Vox's Recode Decode podcast,[3] and NPR's talk show 1A.[32]

Six months after The Daily launched, The New Yorker wrote an article about Barbaro entitled "An Appreciation of Michael Barbaro and The Daily."[33] In January 2020, a New York Magazine profile on him called him "the voice of a generation."[4] A Vanity Fair article in November 2021 suggested that The Daily had "vault[ed] Barbaro from a respected reporter to a full-fledged media celebrity."[34]

In November 2018, Liev Schreiber portrayed Barbaro on Saturday Night Live.[35]

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.[36] 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."[37]

Personal life[edit]

In October 2014, Barbaro married Timothy Levin, a fellow Yale graduate. Levin, who is eight years Barbaro's senior, founded 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 divorce, Barbaro began a relationship with The Daily executive producer Lisa Tobin.[4] A New York profile on Barbaro from January 2020 reported that Barbaro and Times colleague Lisa Tobin bought an apartment together in Brooklyn in 2019 and were engaged.[4] They have a daughter.[39]

Barbaro's friendship with socially conservative Times columnist Ross Douthat has received media attention.[40] In an interview with the New Yorker, Barbaro reflected on how Douthat's conservative views on same-sex marriage affected the pair's friendship: "I’ve been on a long journey that I know Ross generally approves of," Barbaro said, in reference to ending his own same-sex marriage and later entering a heterosexual one. "It’s no secret that [Douthat] wants people to have children and to enter into monogamous heterosexual relationships."[41]


  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 g 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. March 29, 2018. 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. April 12, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  18. ^ "The Top 50 Most Listened to U.S. Podcasts of 2020". Edison Research. February 9, 2021. Retrieved February 6, 2022.
  19. ^ a b Kerry Flynn (December 4, 2020). "What's next for America's favorite news podcast". CNN. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  20. ^ a b "The 10 Best Podcasts of 2020". Time. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  21. ^ Flynn, Kerry (August 5, 2020). "New York Times' digital revenue exceeds print for first time ever". CNN. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  22. ^ Tani, Maxwell (January 16, 2021). "'Daily' Host Apologizes After Public Radio Stations Blast New York Times". The Daily Beast. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  23. ^ "Tommy Tiernan, Joanne McNally, Michael Barbaro, Esther Perel and more: 17 of the best podcasts to listen to right now". The Irish Times. Retrieved September 17, 2023.
  24. ^ Quah, Nicholas (February 12, 2018). "Vox Media to Launch Daily News Podcast Called Today, Explained". Vulture. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "A Day in the Life of The Daily's Michael Barbaro". The Prompt Magazine. June 3, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "Michael Barbaro". The New York Times Company. December 13, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  28. ^ "33. Michael Barbaro". out.com. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  29. ^ "Michael Barbaro Talks 'The Daily' on "Late Night with Seth Meyers"". May 19, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  30. ^ CBS This Morning (February 11, 2017). "Michael Barbaro on latest hurdles facing Trump administration" – via YouTube.
  31. ^ Michael Barbaro & Rukmini Callimachi | "The Daily" Live on Stage | SXSW 2018, retrieved August 6, 2019
  32. ^ "1A, The Daily and a News Cycle That Never Sleeps". 1A. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  33. ^ Mead, Rebecca (August 21, 2017). "An Appreciation of Michael Barbaro and 'The Daily'". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  34. ^ Klein, Charlotte (November 2, 2021). ""They Want It to Be a Hit": What Happened to The New York Times' Grand Podcast Ambitions?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 6, 2022.
  35. ^ Saturday Night Live (November 10, 2018). "The Poddys". YouTube.
  36. ^ "2018 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award Winners Announced". Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Archived from the original on November 30, 2022. Retrieved February 21, 2023.
  37. ^ Michael Barbaro – 2018 duPont-Columbia Awards Acceptance Speech, retrieved August 6, 2019
  38. ^ "The Daily host Michael Barbaro on podcasting and changing the news". London Evening Standard. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  39. ^ Barbaro, Michael (May 28, 2021). "Where's Michael?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  40. ^ Calderone, Michael (March 31, 2009). "Douthat enters new Times zone". POLITICO. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  41. ^ Chotiner, Isaac (September 11, 2023). "Ross Douthat's Theories of Persuasion". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved September 12, 2023.