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 was standing on the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs exploded a few steps away and played a key role in The Boston Globe's coverage of the attack, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News in 2014. His footage of the aftermath of the bombing 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 family most deeply affected by the bombings. That story was named a "notable narrative" by the Nieman Storyboard and a top read by longform.org.

In 2013, Abel was on leave from the Globe after being selected to spend an academic year as a Nieman fellow at Harvard University. As part of his studies, he was learning to make documentary films and was working on a project about Juli Windsor, who was training to become the first dwarf to run the Boston Marathon. The resulting documentary, "25.7: In Twice the Steps," is about how her quest ended in a way she never expected. The film was broadcast to a national audience on the 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 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. He now covers mainly environmental issues.

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, 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