An award-winning reporter with The Boston Globe and an adjunct professor at Harvard University Extension School, David Abel has traveled throughout the world covering everything from dissident movements in Cuba to war in the former Yugoslavia. 

Abel and his colleagues at the Globe won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for their coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. Abel was standing on the finish line when the bombs detonated a few steps away and played a key role in the Globe's coverage of the attack and its aftermath. His footage from the finish line was part of a package that won a national Edward R. Murrow Award and was nominated for an Emmy. He also filed the first account of the attack to the Globe's website and wrote an eyewitness account that appeared on the front page the next day. Abel spent the following year writing about the impact of the attack, including an exclusive narrative he spent six months reporting about the toll on one family. That story was named a "notable narrative" by the Nieman Storyboard and a top read by longform.org.


In 2012, Abel was selected to spend an academic year as a Nieman fellow at Harvard University. Among his projects was a documentary film about the first dwarf to run the Boston Marathon and how her quest ended in a way she never expected. (It was the 
reason he was standing on the finish line with a video camera.) The film"25.7: In Twice the Steps," was broadcast to a national audience on the first anniversary of the attack by Pivot, a cable channel owned by Participant Media. It was also selected to be screened at the Boston Independent Film Festival. The History Channel produced a short video about the making of the film. Abel ran the 2014 Marathon with the subject of the film, Juli Windsor, and is working on a follow-up documentary about her long, emotional run.

When Abel first moved to Boston in 1999, he covered academia in the region, writing stories about topics such as Cornel West's messy departure from Harvard and Kurt Vonnegut's taxing year at Smith College. He covered the deadlocked presidential election in 2000 from Florida and the Sept. 11 attacks from New York. Later, he launched a new beat at the Globe covering poverty issues, writing about the homeless who refuse to stay in shelters on the coldest nights, the mentally ill evicted from their apartments without due process, and immigrants swindled by sham law firms. He spent a year as co-editor of the Globe's old City Weekly section, which covered the characters and issues that color Boston. Over the years, he has moonlighted as a travel writer with narratives from the glaciers of Iceland to the deserts of Namibia. 

Abel now covers environmental issues at the Globe. He has exposed the multibillion-dollar problem presented by nitrogen pollution in the waters off Cape Cod and cast light on a conflict to clean up sewage that a Massachusetts waste water plant is sending into Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. He has detailed the health risks of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere and the trials of complying with new requirements to reduce lead poisoning. He has also written extensively about climate change in New England and the region's fishing industry, especially the demise of cod in the Gulf of Maine.

Abel has taught journalism for more than a decade. He has taught classes on beat reporting at Boston University, Emerson College, and Northeastern University. He now teaches a class on narrative writing through travel stories at Harvard University Extension School and offers regular seminars at the Boston Center for Adult Education

Before moving to New England, Abel spent a year in Washington, D.C., where he wrote for the Globe and other papers, including a weekly journal covering the military. During that time, he traveled to the former Yugoslavia to cover the war in Kosovo and to Venezuela to document the rise of Hugo Chavez.


Previously, Abel lived in Cuba, where he worked as a stringer for more than a dozen papers, including the Globe, Miami Herald, Newsday, and San Francisco Chronicle. Abel was deported on Christmas Eve in 1998, after rankling authorities with unflattering stories.

Before moving to Cuba, Abel spent a year covering the police beat and occasionally reviewing classical music for The Palm Beach Post. He moved to Florida after a brief stint running a pepper farm in the rural highlands of the Dominican Republic, but that's a long story.

Abel's career started in Mexico City, where he wrote for an expatriate newspaper covering the nation's social movements and economic woes. Before that, he spent a year in San Francisco, writing poetry, fiction, and articles for the Haight Ashbury Free Press.

Born and raised in New York, where every Valentine's Day he still helps his family sell flowers at their stands in Penn Station, Abel studied political science and philosophy at the University of Michigan and has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Email: dabel@globe.com 

Twitter: @davabel