Michael Barbaro

Michael Barbaro

The proliferation and popularity of podcasts — especially among millennials — have created many new media stars, but few are shining as brightly as Barbaro, the host of The Daily, the New York Times’ entry into the podisphere with millions of devoted listeners. It was the most-downloaded new show on Apple Podcasts last year, with five million listeners a month at last count, and will more than one million tuning in each day.

He’s been called the Ira Glass of The New York Times for good reason: the comparison is apt because both excel at story telling, and although The Daily sticks to politics, it’s for people who want a more detailed breakdown of the day’s news, with human interest angles and insider accounts, delivered by a smart host interviewing smart guests.

Barbaro sums up The Daily’s success this way:

“To be a Times reporter is to be in some ways a raconteur, right? A lot of the journalists here are great, great storytellers at a bar…I think The Daily taps into that great oral tradition of journalists, enthusiastically talking about a story in a way they’re excited about, and it gets people excited about it.”

He wasn’t the obvious choice to be the voice of a podcast. Barbaro was a veteran political reporter for the newspaper, joining the news team in 2005, covering local and national politics. In 2016 he became a fixture on the Times’ front page for chronicling the exploits of then presidential candidate Donald Trump. What’s more, thanks to Barbaro and his team, the podcast is actually profitable, and a TV spin-off is in the works.

Before joining The Times, Barbaro worked at The Washington Post, NBC News, and The Miami Herald. He graduated from Yale in 2002, majoring in history.