Julia Baird is a journalist, broadcaster and author based in Sydney, Australia. Her writing has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Guardian, the Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun-Herald, The Monthly and Harper’s Bazaar. She is currently writing a biography of Queen Victoria for Random House, New York.
Baird was based in the USA until 2011, working at Newsweek as columnist and deputy editor. She began work at the magazine as senior editor for Science, Society and Ideas. In that role, she oversaw Newsweek’s coverage of social trends and scientific breakthroughs as well as fresh, important ideas. She edited cover stories on subjects including human evolution, the history of climate change denial, the mysterious lives of surrogate mothers, the politics of transgender and the significance of 1968. Features she wrote included a cover story on vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and a profile of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. In 2010 she moved with her family to Philadelphia and worked as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer for several months.
Baird began her career in journalism at the Sydney Morning Herald, where she was from 1998- January 2007. She was a columnist from 1999 and was the editor of the op-ed page from 2000-2005. She was also an education reporter and election editor. In 2006 and again at the end of 2011 she was the host of the investigative radio program “Sunday Profile” on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2012, she guest presented The Drum on ABC24, and covered the US presidential campaign in Iowa for The Monthly, the ABC, and the Sun-Herald.
In 2005, Baird was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press and Public Policy at Harvard, researching the global response to American opinion in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Her Ph.D., on female politicians and the press, was awarded in 2001, and her book on the subject, Media Tarts: How the Australian Press Frames Female Politicians was published in 2004. Baird has also taught history (20th century cultural history and personal narratives, involving the study of letters, diaries and journals), and made radio documentaries on subjects as diverse as black metal music and convent education.
Baird received both her B.A. and Ph.D. in history from Sydney University. She has been voted one of Australia’s Top 100 Intellectuals, and was one of Advance’s Fifty Leading Australian Women in 2011. She is a regular commentator on television and radio. She has also become expert in making play-doh, bug catchers and brownies for her two little kids, and lives near the sea, which she swims in as long and often as she can.