Emma Barnett (born 5 February 1985) is a British broadcaster and journalist. A former Digital Media and Women Editor for The Daily Telegraph, she is a presenter for BBC Radio 5 Live and an occasional presenter of Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4. Since August 2016, Barnett has been a columnist for The Sunday Times and, from June 2017, a co-presenter of BBC One's Sunday Morning Live.

Emma Barnett
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Barnett in 2016
Emma Barnett

(1985-02-05) 5 February 1985 (age 35)
Manchester, England
EducationManchester High School for Girls
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham
TV and radio presenter

In autumn 2017, she co-presented the live discussion programme After the News on ITV. In March 2019 she became one of the regular presenters on BBC Two’s Newsnight.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Barnett was born on 5 February 1985 in Manchester to Ian and Michele Barnett, who were business owners in the Greater Manchester area.[2] She attended Manchester High School for Girls, an independent school.


In 2006, Barnett graduated with a degree in History and Politics from Nottingham University.[3][4]

She took a postgraduate course in journalism at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.[5]

She is from an Orthodox Jewish background, though not herself especially observant,[6] and with an ambivalence about both Orthodox and Reform Judaism.[7] Barnett has described herself "as a Jew in disguise".[8]


Following the postgraduate course at Cardiff, Barnett began her career in journalism at Media Week in 2007 and joined The Daily Telegraph in 2009, later becoming the paper's first digital media editor,[9] and then, from 2012, the women's editor. Barnett launched The Telegraph's digital section, "Wonder Women" in October 2012 with contributors such as Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News.[10][11][12] "I don’t remember ever not being a feminist", Barnett told an interviewer in 2015,[5] and she is a member of the Women's Equality Party.[13]

A radio presenter for LBC for almost three years until early 2014, Barnett joined BBC Radio 5 Live in the summer.[14] From November 2014, she presented the station's Hit List programme, a countdown of the 40 highest profile online news stories of the week.[15]

After her time with The Telegraph, Barnett started presenting the morning slot on BBC Radio 5 Live in September 2016, being the first woman to have a solo daily slot since the departure of Shelagh Fogarty and Victoria Derbyshire two years earlier in a new-look schedule.[12] In August 2016, Barnett's 'Tough Love' agony column began in The Sunday Times Magazine. To encourage her readers to write in about difficult issues, she referred to "the most painful chapter of my life" when her father was "imprisoned for living off immoral earnings".[16] Ian Barnett was jailed for three years and eight months in 2008 after admitting to keeping a string of brothels, controlling prostitution and conspiracy to control brothels.[17]

In April 2014, Barnett was a judge for Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4) power list,[18] a programme on which she has been an occasional presenter, the youngest in the programme's history.[19][20] A decade before Barnett began her role on Woman's Hour, at 17, she did work experience with its presenter, Jenni Murray.[19] Additionally, she has made documentaries for Radio 4.[5]

In May 2017, Barnett interviewed the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Woman's Hour, as part of the general election cycle. Corbyn struggled to recall the correct costing estimates relating to his party's childcare proposals. Some supporters of the Labour leader sent abuse to Barnett via the social media network Twitter, which were considered antisemitic in nature.[21][22] Corbyn responded to the abuse later the same day, condemning the use of antisemitic slurs, as well as stating that "under no circumstances whatsoever should anyone throw personal abuse at anyone else because they are doing the job that they have been employed to do".[22][23]

In March 2018, Barnett began a series of podcasts for Historic England entitled Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places.[24] The podcast, presented by Barnett and Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb, was nominated for the British Podcast Awards in the 'Best Branded Content' category in April 2018.[25] Deputising for the programme's usual host, she presented The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, 20 May 2018.[26][27]

In March 2019 she became one of the regular presenters on BBC Two's Newsnight.[28] The editor, Esmé Wren, said she was "thrilled to welcome Emma – whose formidable skill as an interviewer and no-nonsense approach further strengthens the programme's agenda-setting impact."


Barnett was named best newcomer at the Arqiva commercial radio awards in 2012[14] and named in two consecutive annual lists of the Radio Academy’s 30 under 30 list.[15] She also made the 20 under 30 Hot List feature in Red magazine in 2011.[29] While at The Telegraph, Barnett was Digital Journalist of the Year by the Association of Online Publishers and Digital Writer of the Year at the 2011 Online Media Awards.[9]


  1. ^ "Emily Maitlis announced as new lead presenter for Newsnight". BBC Media Centre. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  2. ^ Lee, Adrian (28 November 2017). "Emma Barnett: The Rise of Jeremy Paxman's favourite interviewer". Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  3. ^ Barnett, Emma (2 June 2014). "Kirstie Allsopp—Are her views on women for real?". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  4. ^ "A Levels: Emma's flawless score". Manchester Evening News. 18 January 2013 [10 August 2004]. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Inspirational women – Emma Barnett". Changing People. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  6. ^ Barnett, Emma (11 March 2014). "Can you really be an Orthodox Jew and a feminist?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  7. ^ Barnett, Emma (27 October 2016). "Reform? Orthodox? I'm not sure where I belong". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  8. ^ Barnett, Emma (9 June 2016). "I operate as a Jew in disguise". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  9. ^ a b Bussey, Cathy (6 October 2011). "Spotlight on...Emma Barnett: 'The Internet Has Moved On'". PR Week. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  10. ^ Turvill, William (1 October 2012). "Telegraph launches 'sassy' website for women". Press Gazette. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  11. ^ Barnett, Emma (1 October 2012). "Welcome to Wonder Women, new from The Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  12. ^ a b Jackson, Jasper (18 September 2016). "Emma Barnett to host BBC Radio 5 Live morning show". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  13. ^ Barnett, Emma (18 June 2015). "Feminism is a toxic word and us feminists should remember that". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  14. ^ a b Plunkett, John (7 July 2014). "BBC Radio 5 Live recruits Emma Barnett for new Sunday night show". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Emma Barnett to present The 5 live Hit List". BBC Media Centre. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  16. ^ Barnett, Emma (7 August 2016). "Tough love". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 31 May 2017. (subscription required)
  17. ^ "School aide laundered brothel cash". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Woman's Hour Power List 2014 – the panel". BBC Radio 4.
  19. ^ a b Delgado, Kasia (21 September 2016). "Emma Barnett is on a mission to smash taboos on Radio 5 Live". Radio Times. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  20. ^ Morrison, Sarah (21 September 2013). "Women of the Future Awards: Full shortlist". The Independent. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  21. ^ Elgot, Jessica; Mason, Rowena (31 May 2017). "Corbyn unable to give cost of childcare pledge in interview". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  22. ^ a b Coates, Sam; Johnston, Neil (31 May 2017). "Emma Barnett's interview with Jeremy Corbyn fuels Labour antisemitism row". The Times. Retrieved 31 May 2017. (subscription required)
  23. ^ Ponsford, Dominic (31 May 2017). "BBC's Emma Barnett called a Zionist on Twitter after cornering Corbyn over cost of childcare". Press Gazette. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Search Results – Historic England". historicengland.org.uk.
  25. ^ "Nominations 2018". British Podcast Awards.
  26. ^ "Sunday Shows Round-Up: Emma Barnett Destroys All In Her Path And It's McCluskey Vs Mandelson On Brexit". Huffington Post. 20 May 2018.
  27. ^ "Shadow minister under fire over private remarks on Irish border". The Guardian. 20 May 2018.
  28. ^ "Emily Maitlis announced as new lead presenter for Newsnight". BBC Media Centre. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  29. ^ "Red magazine's 20 Under 30: 'The Hot List'". The Telegraph. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2017.

External linksEdit