Bongiorno grew up in Ballarat, Victoria, and was educated by the Christian Brothers at St Patrick's College and Drummond Street in Ballarat. He told ABC radio in 2015: "I was inspired by what I heard and by the lives of men—both priests and brothers—by the ideals and the values that they had in terms of social justice and human welfare and well-being and belief in God, to go off and become a Catholic priest." Bongiorno later worked as a Catholic priest. He holds a master's degree in theology from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome.
Bongiorno started in television at the Seven Network in Melbourne in 1974, moved to WIN TV in Wollongong later that year, then moved to Network Ten in Brisbane in 1978 as a reporter and, for a time, a weather presenter. In Brisbane, he won four Walkley Awards for investigative journalism as well as reporting state politics and writing for The Bulletin magazine. He has been with Network Ten's Canberra bureau since 1988. In November 2010, he was appointed national affairs editor for Ten News with Hugh Riminton, now the political editor and bureau chief in Canberra.
A veteran political broadcaster, he regularly appeared on Ten's news and weekday programs. He is also a regular commentator on radio.
- Whitlam Government
He describes Sir John Kerr (the Governor-General who sacked Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam) as a "venal deceptive man", and the senior judges who advised him as "lacking moral compass". He believes the reserve powers of the governor-general should be scrapped.
- Abbott-Turnbull Government
On Radio National, Bongiorno likened the conservative Liberal-National Abbott Government to a "dictatorship". He describes Tony Abbott as "famous for saying the exact opposite of what reality is". He describes Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as the "best thing [the Liberal-National Party Coalition] has going for it".
- Sky News
In a 2018 tweet, Bongiorno, then an ABC radio political correspondent, defended the number of left-wing commentators on the ABC and criticised Sky News for having too many conservatives by tweeting that the National Broadcaster had as many "lefties"as there are "righties" on Sky "after dark panels and that includes ‘Uncle Tom’ lefties craving relevance." Aboriginal Sky News commentator, and former Labor Party president Warren Mundine objected to the use of the racist epithet "Uncle Tom," and called the ABC "hypocritical and disgraceful" for not criticising the remark.
In the January 2014 Australia Day Honours List, Bongiorno was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) "for significant service to the print and broadcast media as a journalist, political commentator and editor."
- "Can Big George go the full four quarters?". The Age. 16 April 2005. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
- Ramsey, Alan (10 May 2003). "So, I heard this yarn about a bloke and his cow..." The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
- "Paul Bongiorno". Saxton. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
- Wright, Tony (6 June 1999). "Two knights are a long time in politics". The Sunday Age. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
- "Paul Bongiorno". Meet the Press. Network Ten. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
- "Paul Bongiorno". The Saturday Paper. Schwartz Publishing. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
- Paul Bongiorno speaking on ABC 702's Mornings with Linda Motram; 5 Nov 2015
- Hinch Live, Sky News; 7 Feb 2015
- RN Breakfast with Fran Kelly, ABC Radio National, 8 March 2016
- ABC panned over Paul Bongiorno Uncle Tom slur; The Australia; July 17, 2018
- "Australia Day honours list 2014: in full". Daily Telegraph. News Ltd. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.