Mike Barnicle is a veteran print and broadcast journalist, radio personality and social and political commentator. A regular on MSNBC’s highly rated morning program Morning Joe, Barnicle is best known for his street-smart, straightforward commentary and writing style that gives voice to “every man.” With insight, perspective and an incisive wit, Barnicle can be irascible and colorful, sarcastic and skeptical but ultimately seeks to find the good in people.
The Massachusetts native has written more than 4,000 columns collectively for The Boston Herald, New York Daily News and The Boston Globe, where he rose to prominence with his hard-hitting and often heart-wrenching must-read columns that closely followed the triumphs, travails and ambitions of Boston’s working and middle classes. Barnicle’s articles and commentary have also been published in TIME magazine, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, ESPN The Magazine, Grantland, and Esquire, among others.
Barnicle previously hosted a popular morning drive-time talk radio program on WTKK-FM in Boston, where he was The Voice of New England. For many years he was also a frequent guest on Imus in the Morning, where his Barnicle’s View was heard three days a week.
From 1982-2005, Barnicle was a regular contributor to WCVB-TV’s nightly news magazine, Chronicle. His award-winning documentaries include Armed and Dangerous, which examined the proliferation of guns in the U.S., and Justice on Trial, an exposé on the Massachusetts judicial system.
Barnicle is an avid Red Sox fan and often comments on the team and baseball in columns, radio shows, and on TV. He was an integral part of Ken Burns’ PBS documentary The Tenth Inning. Mark Feeney from The Boston Globe wrote: “Mike Barnicle, who toiled for many years at this newspaper, serves as representative of Red Sox Nation. One of his great strengths on both page and screen has always been what a potent and vivid presence he has.”
In fact, it was Barnicle’s regular column in The Boston Globe from 1974 to 1998 that earned him the reputation as one of the paper’s most popular and prominent figures, while also establishing him as a national name in journalism. Over a quarter century, Barnicle’s memorable columns mixed criticism of bureaucratic failure with personal stories that championed the everyday struggles of regular people. He chronicled the stories of police officers, firefighters and veterans, the disadvantaged and disenfranchised, victims of crime and victims of circumstances with grace, aplomb, cautious optimism, care and dignity. Fans still regularly request copies of columns that touched them—some written more than 30 years ago.
Tapping into a rich knowledge of local and national politics, Barnicle has a keen ability to cut through political spin and wrote frequently about Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. John Kerry, longtime Congressional Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neil, as well as Boston mayors Kevin White, Ray Flynn and Tom Menino. His column topics also included conflict and resolution in Northern Ireland and commemorations of World War II veterans at the beaches of Normandy.
Barnicle and The Globe won praise with their coverage of the political and social upheaval that roiled Boston after the city instituted a mandatory, court-ordered school desegregation plan in the mid-1970s. In his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Common Ground, published in 1986, Anthony Lukas said Barnicle gave voice to the Boston residents who had been angered by the policy. In the book, Lukas singled out a column by Barnicle based on an interview with Harvard psychiatrist and author Robert Coles as one of the defining moments of the coverage, which earned the paper a highly coveted Pulitzer Prize for Public Service (1975).
Barnicle has won numerous local and national awards and recognition for his print and broadcast work over more than 35 years in journalism, including honors from AP, UPI, DuPont Columbia and the National Headliners Awards.
He began his career as a speech writer and aid to prominent political figures, including former California Senator John Tunney, one-time Vice Presidential candidate Edmund Muskie and the late Robert F. Kennedy. Barnicle is often recognized for his role in Robert Redford’s The Candidate.
A graduate of Boston University, Barnicle resides in suburban Boston with his family.