Nahum Barnea was born in Israel in 1944. He began his journalism career at Hebrew University's student newspaper Pi HaAton, while studying for an undergraduate degree in history and political science. Prior to his university studies, Barnea served in the Israel Defense Forces as a paratrooper.
From 1967 to 1982, Barnea worked as a reporter and a columnist for the daily newspaper Davar. Between the years 1973 and 1977, he was Davar's bureau chief in Washington, D.C.
In 1982, he founded the weekly news magazine Koteret Rashit and became its editor-in-chief. When the paper folded in 1988, he became the chief political columnist of Yedioth Ahronoth, the biggest daily newspaper in Israel.
During the course of his career, Barnea has received a number of prestigious awards. In 1981, he was awarded the Sokolov Prize for Journalism. Barnea was recognized as the "Most Influential Journalist in Israel's 50 Years" in a 1997 national survey conducted by Channel 2 in Israel. In 2007, the state of Israel honored Barnea with the Israel Prize for excellence in various fields. Last year, he won the Maria Grazia Cutuli International Prize for Journalism.
Barnea has published three books in Hebrew: "They Shoot and They Cry" (1981); "Bibi Time" (1999); and "My Journey with a Notebook" (2008). In addition, he published a monograph, "Backchannel: Bush, Sharon, and the Uses of Unilateralism" (2006), at the Brookings Institution"s Saban Center for Middle East Policy.