|Born||December 11, 1962|
|Education||Georgetown University (BS)|
Columbia University (MS)
|Years active||1994 - present|
|Co-founder of Recode|
(m. 1999; div. 2018)
Kara Anne Swisher (// KAIR-ə) is an American journalist. Described by Newsweek as Silicon Valley's "most powerful tech journalist", she is an opinion writer for The New York Times, a contributing editor at New York, the host of the podcast Sway, and the co-host of the podcast Pivot.
Swisher, who previously wrote for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, co-founded Recode, the All Things Digital conference and the online publication All Things D. She has covered the internet since 1994.
Swisher went to Princeton Day School from 1976 to 1980. She graduated from Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service with a BS degree in 1984. She wrote for The Hoya, Georgetown's school newspaper, and later left that paper to write for The Georgetown Voice, the university's news magazine. In 1985, she earned an MS in journalism from Columbia University.
Swisher worked at the Washington City Paper in Washington, D.C. She interned at The Washington Post in 1986 and was later hired full-time.
Swisher joined The Wall Street Journal in 1997, working from its bureau in San Francisco. She created and wrote Boom Town, a column devoted to the companies, personalities and culture of Silicon Valley which appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal's Marketplace section and online. During that period, she was cited as the most influential reporter covering the Internet by Industry Standard magazine.
In 2003, with her colleague Walt Mossberg, she launched the All Things Digital conference and later expanded it into a daily blog called AllThingsD.com. The conference featured interviews by Swisher and Mossberg of top technology executives, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison, all of whom appeared on stage without prepared remarks or slides.
She is the author of aol.com: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads and Made Millions in the War for the Web, published by Times Business Print Books in July 1998. The sequel, There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future, was published in the fall of 2003 by Crown Business Print Books. In 2021, it was announced that she signed a two-book memoir deal with Simon & Schuster.
On January 1, 2014, Swisher and Mossberg struck out on their own with the Recode website, based in San Francisco. In the spring of 2014 they held the inaugural Code Conference near Los Angeles. Vox Media acquired the website in May 2015. A month later in June 2015, they launched Recode Decode, a weekly podcast in which Swisher interviews prominent figures in the technology space with Stewart Butterfield featured as the first guest.
In September 2018, Recode and Vox Media launched Pivot, a semi-weekly news commentary podcast co-hosted by Swisher and Scott Galloway.
In April 2020, New York Magazine announced Pivot would be joining the magazine's properties, subsequently dropping the Recode branding, and Swisher would also be joining as editor-at-large. In May 2020, Swisher wrote on Twitter that she had not been involved in editing or assigning stories on Recode for many years.
Swisher became a contributing writer to the New York Times' Opinion section in August 2018, focusing on tech. She has written about topics such as Elon Musk, Kevin Systrom's departure from Instagram, Google and censorship, and an internet Bill of Rights. She also answers questions weekly during live videos on Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
In September 2020, the Times premiered Sway, a semiweekly podcast hosted by Swisher focused on the subject of power and those who wield it, with Nancy Pelosi featured as her first guest. Other guests have included Georgia politician and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, actor Sacha Baron Cohen, Apple CEO Tim Cook, entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, former Presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, film director Spike Lee, Parler CEO John Matze, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, USSF CSO Gen. John W. Raymond, and social activist and celebrity Monica Lewinsky.
Swisher has also served as a judge for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's NYC BigApps competition in New York.
Alexander Nazaryan in Newsweek has said "many regard [Swisher] as Silicon Valley's premier journalist". In a New York Magazine profile headlined "Kara Swisher is Silicon Valley's Most Feared and Well-Liked Journalist. How Does That Work?", Benjamin Wallace described Swisher as one of the "major power brokers of tech reporting" whose "combination of access and toughness has made [her] a preeminent arbiter of status in a Silicon Valley".
Swisher told Rolling Stone writer Claire Hoffman: "A lot of these people I cover are babies", Swisher says. "I always call them papier-mâché – they just wilt."
In 2016, Swisher announced she planned to run for mayor of San Francisco in 2023.
Swisher wrote of her experiences working for The McLaughlin Group in a 2018 Slate article, in which she alleged that host John McLaughlin abused staff and sexually harassed women. Reflecting on his death from prostate cancer in 2016, she wrote, "I’m so glad he’s dead. Seriously, I’m glad he’s dead. He was a jackass. He deserved it."
In January 2019, Swisher told people who disapproved of a Gillette advertisement, following the January 2019 Lincoln Memorial confrontation "And to all you aggrieved folks who thought this Gillette ad was too much bad-men-shaming, after we just saw it come to life with those awful kids and their fetid smirking harassing that elderly man on the Mall: Go fuck yourselves." Citing Swisher's comment as an example of how inaccurate many media accounts of the story had been, Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic Monthly observed, "You know the left has really changed in this country when you find its denizens ... lionizing the social attitudes of the corporate monolith Procter & Gamble." Swisher apologized in a follow-up tweet two days later.
In 2021, Swisher hosted the official companion podcast for the third season of HBO's TV series Succession.
In 2011 Swisher suffered a "mini-stroke" while on a flight to Hong Kong, where she was subsequently hospitalized and put on anticoagulant medication. She wrote about the experience in a remembrance of Luke Perry, after a stroke led to his death in 2019.