Media News

Washington Post moves Birnbaum from climate to State Department

May 31, 2023

Posted by Chris Roush

Michael Birnbaum

Washington Post national editor Matea Gold, deputy national editor Phil Rucker, national security editor Ben Pauker and deputy national security editor Andy deGrandpre sent out the following on Wednesday:

We are delighted to announce that Michael Birnbaum will become a State Department correspondent, a role to which he brings extensive overseas reporting experience and a sophisticated understanding of the people and events shaping U.S. foreign policy.

Michael takes on this consequential line of coverage at a time when the United States faces a multitude of challenges to its influence around the world and is roiled by domestic debates about what role it should play on the global stage. It’s a natural segue from his successful run covering the security implications of climate change and his more than a decade abroad as bureau chief in Berlin, Moscow and Brussels.

Since returning to D.C. in the fall of 2021, he has worked on the Climate team covering Europe’s rush effort to go green and free itself from Russian energy. When the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began last year, Michael leveraged his vast network of contacts in Europe to aid our coverage of the war’s first few months. Last year, he was part of the team honored with a prestigious George Polk Award for coverage of Pegasus spyware.

Michael joined The Post as a summer intern in 2008 and was then hired to cover education on the Metro desk before moving to International in 2011. To date, Michael has reported from more than 40 countries. He covered the Arab Spring from Egypt, Bahrain and Libya, and was one of the first reporters on the ground in Benghazi in 2012 following the killing of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Since 2014, he’s covered the Russia-Ukraine conflict as well as NATO and Europe’s efforts to navigate Brexit and President Trump’s unorthodox foreign policy.

Originally from Chicago, Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and also attended Deep Springs College in California. He speaks French, German, Russian and Latvian at varying levels of proficiency.

Please join us in congratulating Michael, who will move into his new role in June.

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