Robert Costa (journalist)

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Robert Costa
Costa robert.jpg
Costa in 2018
Born (1985-10-14) October 14, 1985 (age 36)
EducationUniversity of Notre Dame (BA)
University of Cambridge (MPhil)
EmployerWashington Post
Parent(s)Thomas Eugene Costa
Anne-Dillon Marie Dalton Costa[2]

Robert Costa (born October 14, 1985) is an American investigative journalist. He is a national political reporter for The Washington Post, a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, and the former moderator of Washington Week on PBS.[3]

Education and early life[edit]

Costa was born October 14, 1985, in Richmond, Virginia, the son of attorneys Anne-Dillon (née Dalton) and Thomas E. Costa.[1][4][5] His father worked as an attorney for pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb.[6] He has three siblings.[7] He is of partial Italian descent.[8]

He grew up in Lower Makefield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he attended Pennsbury High School and graduated in 2004. While Costa was at Pennsbury, Sports Illustrated writer Michael Bamberger profiled him in the book Wonderland: A Year in the Life of an American High School.[9] He was also friends with actor Zach Woods and journalist Hallie Jackson, two fellow Pennsbury students.[10]

Costa gained notice during high school for bringing rock musicians such as John Mayer, Eve 6, and Maroon 5 to perform at the school. He also reported for The Bucks County Courier Times, interviewing bands and reviewing concerts in the Philadelphia area, and covered professional and local sports for PHS-TV, the student television station.[11]

He earned a bachelor's degree in American studies from the University of Notre Dame in 2008 and a master's degree in politics from the University of Cambridge in 2009. During his time at Notre Dame, Costa held internships at PBS' Charlie Rose, ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, and in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. On campus, he hosted and produced an interview program for ND-TV called Office Hours.

At Cambridge, Costa was an active member of The Cambridge Union debating society and focused his research on Winston Churchill and United Kingdom–United States relations. His adviser was Andrew Gamble, a British academic and author.

Costa was on the board of trustees at Notre Dame from 2014 to 2017 and currently serves on the advisory council for the Donald R. Keough School of Global Affairs.[12]


Costa was a Robert L. Bartley Fellow at The Wall Street Journal.[13] In 2010, he was hired as a reporter by the conservative magazine National Review.[14][15] In December 2012, he was promoted to the position of Washington editor for National Review.[15] While at National Review, Costa was a contributor for CNBC, appearing on The Kudlow Report, and for MSNBC.[15]

In 2013, during the United States federal government shutdown, Costa's reporting on the Republican party in Congress was widely praised.[16][13] The New Republic called him "the most important reporter in the country over the past few weeks"[14] and Slate writer David Weigel called him "omnipresent."[17] New York magazine called him "the golden boy of the government shutdown."[16]

Costa has not identified his political views publicly, saying only that he's not on the "conservative team."[14] He has cited Robert Caro[18] and Tim Russert[19] as influences.

In November 2013, he left National Review for The Washington Post, joining the paper officially in January 2014.[20][13] Newsbusters, a media watchdog website for the conservative organization Media Research Center, said that it was "perhaps the first time in decades that a top-tier 'mainstream' news outlet has hired away a reporter from a right-leaning publication."[21]

On December 10, 2015, Costa was named a political analyst for both NBC and MSNBC.[22] Costa is known for his deep sourcing within national political circles. He has interviewed President Donald Trump on multiple occasions. Politico has called him the "Trump whisperer."[23]

In March 2016, Costa interviewed Trump with Bob Woodward,[24] who has been a mentor to him.[25] Costa served as guest host of PBS' Charlie Rose in March 2017.

In April 2017, Costa was announced as the permanent moderator of the long-running Washington Week newsmagazine program on PBS, following the death of long-running moderator Gwen Ifill, of cancer.[26] Costa frequently hosted top mainstream news reporters on the program. "I've always worked to be highly disciplined in my reporting. ... to be sensitive to constant objectivity," Costa told the Associated Press in 2017.[27] On January 1, 2021, Costa hosted his last episode of the Washington Week program on PBS. He left the television program to write a book with Bob Woodward.[28] The book, entitled Peril, was released in September 2021.[29]


  • Woodward, Bob; Costa, Robert (September 21, 2021). Peril. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-9821-8291-5.[30]


  1. ^ a b "Q&A Robert Costa, Sep 11 2015 - Video -".
  2. ^ "Thomas E. Costa and Miss Dalton Lawyers Married", The New York Times, wedding announcenent, October 26, 1980.
  3. ^ "Meet Robert Costa, new Washington Week moderator". Washington Week. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  4. ^ "Anne Costa (née MacNamara)". The Star-Ledger. October 22, 2013.
  5. ^ "James E. Costa". The Star-Ledger. January 15, 2010.
  6. ^ "I Love My Job: Robert Costa, From Pennsbury High to WashPo's Donald Trump Guy". Philadelphia Magazine. 2017-05-01. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  7. ^ Vineberg, Andy. "New 'Washington Week' host Robert Costa's journalism career began in Courier Times cafeteria".
  8. ^ Costa, Robert (July 3, 2019). "Robert Costa on Twitter". Twitter. My late Italian-American grandfather, Jim Costa, was the son of immigrants and respected Iacocca. On every visit, I remember seeing Iacocca’s autobiography on his bookshelf. RIP.
  9. ^ Smerconish, Michael (2013-10-27). "The Pulse: Bucks native makes a splash in Washington". Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  10. ^ "BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Robert Costa, WaPo national political reporter, moderator of PBS's "Washington Week," and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC".
  11. ^ "Interview: Yardley's Robert Costa, from Maroon 5 to Trump - Philly".
  12. ^ ENR/PAZ // University Communications: Web // University of Notre Dame (2014-05-16). "Notre Dame makes additions to Fellows and Board // News // Notre Dame News // University of Notre Dame". Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  13. ^ a b c Gold, Hadas. "Robert Costa to The Washington Post". POLITICO. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  14. ^ a b c Tracy, Marc (2013-10-14). "Robert Costa: I'm Not On the "Conservative Team"". New Republic. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  15. ^ a b c "Morning Hire: National Review Names Costa D.C. Editor". Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  16. ^ a b Coscarelli, Joe. "How Robert Costa Became the Golden Boy of the Government Shutdown". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  17. ^ Weigel, David (2013-07-19). "After Losing Big on Senate Strategy, Ted Cruz Pledges to Shut Down the Government Unless Obamacare Is Defunded". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  18. ^ "How Robert Costa Became the Golden Boy of the Government Shutdown". 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  19. ^ Costa, Robert (2008-06-16). "Russert's Career Advice: Just Do It". WSJ. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  20. ^ "Robert Costa to The Washington Post". Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  21. ^ "Washington Post Hires National Review Reporter Robert Costa". NewsBusters. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  22. ^ Gold, Hadas (December 10, 2015). "NBC, MSNBC name Robert Costa political analyst". Politico. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  23. ^ Glasser, Susan B. "2016 election 16 breakout media stars". Politico. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  24. ^ Woodward, Bob (2016-04-02). "Transcript: Donald Trump interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  25. ^ Chotiner, Isaac (2016-04-12). "Bob Woodward of the Washington Post on Trump, Bush, and web journalism". Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  26. ^ McCarthy, Ellen (April 20, 2017). "Post reporter Robert Costa takes over helm of PBS's Washington Week". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  27. ^ "No snark allowed PBS Washington Week stays true to form".
  28. ^ "Washington Week Host Robert Costa Departs Program". New York Public Media. December 23, 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  29. ^ Peril. 2021-09-21. ISBN 978-1-9821-8291-5.
  30. ^ Peril. 2021-09-21. ISBN 978-1-9821-8291-5.

External links[edit]