An award-winning reporter with The Boston Globe, a documentary filmmaker, and an occasional professor of journalism, David Abel has covered war in the Balkans, unrest in Latin America, national security issues in Washington D.C., terrorism in New York and Boston, and climate change and poverty in New England.

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 was nominated for an Emmy and won a national Edward R. Murrow Award. 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 about the Richards won the Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Storytelling from the Scripps Howard Foundation as well as the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Feature Reporting. It was also named a notable narrative by the Nieman Storyboard, a Best of 2014 top read by Longform.org, and featured on the list of Best Journalism in 2014 by Sports Illustrated.


In 2012, Abel was selected to be a Nieman fellow at Harvard University. Among his projects was a documentary film about the first person with dwarfism to run the Boston Marathon and how her quest ended in a way she never expected. 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 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 with partners produced a feature documentary about her experience over the year and how the city rallied against fear. The film, "Undaunted: Chasing History at the Boston Marathon," was broadcast across the world in April 2015 on BBC World News and the Discovery Life channel. See the trailer here. Afterward, Abel co-produced and directed a film about the historic collapse of the iconic cod population in New England. That film, 
"Sacred Cod," was broadcast to a global audience by the Discovery Channel in the spring of 2017. It premiered at the Camden International Film Festival in Maine and at the GlobeDocs Film Festival in Boston, and is still being screened at film festivals and in educational venues around the world. See more about the film and a trailer here


In 2016, Abel spent a semester as the visiting Knight Chair in journalism at the University of Miami's Center for Communication, Culture and Change, where he directed a film called "Gladesmen: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys." The feature-length film is about the government's $16 billion effort to restore the Everglades, one of the planet's most damaged ecosystems. It's told through a group of men and women called Gladesmen, who are losing their way of life. See more about the film and a trailer here. The film has been selected to be screened at film festivals including the 2018 Miami Film Festival and the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital


When Abel first moved to Boston in 1999 to work for the Globe, 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 also 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, focusing mainly on climate change. In pursuit of a compelling story, he has walked on top of a nuclear reactor, boarded ice-covered fishing boats before dawn in the black waters off Newfoundland, crossed the melting Arctic Sea on a snowmobile, and trekked across the mountains of Tierra del Fuego. Over the years, he has written stories that cast light on serious problems in Massachusetts, such as the failures of the state to enforce its environmental laws, state prisons that failto supply water that meets federal safety standards, and the damage caused by major cuts to environmental agencies. He has even been admonished for approaching a late-model Bentley too closely while reporting a story about the threat ofrising sea levels to Palm Beach, and one famous property there. His stories have also detailed the health risks of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, the trials of complying with new requirements to reduce lead poisoning, and the impact of the rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine, among many other stories.


Abel has taught journalism for more than a decade, including classes on beat reporting at Boston University, Emerson College, and Northeastern University. Most recently, he has taught narrative writing at Harvard University Extension School. He also offers regular seminars on travel writing 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 kiosks 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