JOURNALISM EXPERIENCE

The Boston Globe
I started as a stringer, writing from Latin America, Washington and the former Yugoslavia. I spent more than two years writing narratives and breaking news about academia in New England, while also covering everything from the deadlocked presidential election in Florida to the terrorist attacks in New York. Some scoops made national news, including Harvard professor Cornel West’s row with Larry Summers, a cheating scandal at Dartmouth and admissions errors at Northeastern. Later, I launched a new beat at the paper covering poverty issues. Stories included how the region's largest homeless shelter cut services after amassing a multimillion-dollar endowment, how a growing number of welfare dads fare in a system dominated by women and how shelters barred hundreds of homeless people on the coldest nights. In 2005, I became co-editor of City Weekly, the equivalent of an urban magazine, which provided in-depth coverage of the characters and issues that color Boston. Now, I cover the environment. I have exposed the multibillion-dollar problem presented by nitrogen pollution in the waters off Cape Cod and drew attention to a conflict to clean up sewage that a Massachusetts waste water plant is sending into Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. I detailed the health risks of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere and the trials of complying with new requirements to reduce lead poisoning while the federal government cuts funding. I have also written extensively about the area’s fishing industry, especially the demise of cod in the region’s waters. In 2013, I was the paper's only reporter at the finish line of the Boston Marathon during the attacks and played a key role covering the bombings and the aftermath. That work earned the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. One story, a narrative about the toll of the bombings on one family, won the 2015 Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Storytelling from Scripps Howard Foundation and the 2015 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Feature Reporting. (December 1999 to present)

Knight Chair in Journalism

In 2016, I was selected to spend a semester to be the visiting Knight Chair in journalism at the University of Miami's Center for Communication, Culture and Change, where I worked with a team of students and directed a documentary film called "Gladesmen: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys." (August to December 2016)

Nieman Foundation at Harvard University

As a fellow, I studied a range of issues at Harvard and MIT, including documentary filmmaking and narrative writing, energy and environmental issues, as well as new media and art history. (August 2012 to June 2013)

Defense Week
I spent a year covering stories such as the conflict in Kosovo, war games aboard an aircraft carrier and the controversy surrounding the military's testing range in Vieques, P.R. Based in Washington, I spent much of my time at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, reporting about problems with submarine warfare and missile defense, the nation's goal of being able to fight two wars at the same time, pork in the defense budget and allegations of fraud among major contractors. (January to December 1999)

Latin America Freelance Correspondent
Before being deported from Cuba on Christmas Eve, I covered dozens of stories there on everything from the 40th anniversary of the revolution to a crackdown on private businesses to the rise of rebel farmer movements. Among other stories in the region, I covered drug-trafficking issues and the last political-status referendum in Puerto Rico, the rise of Hugo Ch√°vez in Venezuela, discrimination against Haitians and the spread of AIDS in the Dominican Republic, as well as the economic meltdown in Argentina and the effects of ozone depletion on Tierra del Fuego. As a stringer, I wrote for more than a dozen papers, including The Globe, Baltimore Sun, Christian Science Monitor, Dallas Morning News, Miami Herald, Newsday and San Francisco Chronicle. (May to December 1998)

The Palm Beach Post
I covered shootings, fires, and other breaking news around West Palm Beach. I wrote a variety of features and computer-assisted stories on police issues. Occasionally, I reviewed books and music. (April 1997 to May 1998)

Mexico City Times
From Mexico City, I traveled around the country, often writing several stories a day on subjects including political reform, corruption in the federal police force, environmental mismanagement, kidnappings and U.S.-Mexican relations. I also reviewed films and classical music. (June 1996 to February 1997)

The (Mexico City) News
Through Northwestern's internship program, I spent a semester as the paper's Washington correspondent, writing daily stories about immigration, U.S. drug policy and the State Department's certification process, NAFTA disputes and various pieces on culture. (January to March 1996)

FILMS
"Gladesmen: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys" 
I directed this feature-length documentary about the federal government’s ban on Florida’s iconic airboats in much of the Everglades. The measure is part of the world's largest effort to repair a damaged ecosystem, a vast river of grass that has been ravaged by more than a century of development, pollution, and other environmental degradation. The outcome will determine the future of the region's water supply, and its ability to withstand rising sea levels. It may also lead to the demise of the Gladesmen. (2017)

"Sacred Cod"
I co-directed and produced this feature-length documentary that looks at the collapse of the historic cod population in New England, delving into the role of overfishing, the impact of climate change, the effect of government policies on fishermen and the fish, and the prospect of a region built on cod having no cod left to harvest. The film was broadcast on the Discovery Channel in the spring of  2017.

"Undaunted: Chasing History at the Boston Marathon"
I co-directed and produced this feature film about the comeback of one unique runner as well as a city that came together to rally against terror: At 2:49 p.m. on April 15, 2013, Juli Windsor was less than a mile away from completing a lifelong quest to become the first little person to finish the Boston Marathon. The bombings that day transformed her triumph into horror. Juli and thousands of runners were turned back before crossing the finish line. She vowed to run again the next year. It would be a chance at redemption as much as making history. The film was broadcast on BBC World News and the Discovery Life Channel in the spring of 2015.

"25.7: In Twice the Steps"
I directed, shot, and edited this short film about Juli Windsor, who long dreamed of being the first little person to run the Boston Marathon, and how her quest ended in a way she would have never expected. The film was broadcast on Pivot on the first anniversary of the attack in Boston in 2014.

TEACHING
Harvard University Extension School
I teach a course on travel writing. (June 2013 to present)

Boston University and Emerson College
As an adjunct professor, I taught an advanced reporting class that requires students to cover beats, report a range of stories and post them on this website. (January 2007 to 2011)

Northeastern University
I taught Journalism 101 to fledgling majors. My class provided a comprehensive survey of the craft. Students delved into everything from AP style and news writing to the ethical implications of their work. (January 2004 to 2006)

Mediabistro.com
I teach seminars on travel writing, focusing on how to research stories, find compelling angles, pitch to relevant publications, and craft pieces that sustain a reader’s interest from beginning to end. (March 2007)

EDUCATION
Northwestern University
Medill School of Journalism of Science in journalism,  Evanston, Ill. (May 1996)

University of Michigan
College of Literature, Sciences and the Arts, Ann Arbor, Mich. Bachelor of Arts in political science. I also wrote for The Michigan Daily. (May 1994)

Université Libre de Bruxelles
Spent junior year in Brussels, studying European history, French and beer, as a bartender. (January to August 1993)

LANGUAGES
Fluent in Spanish and conversational in French.

AWARDS
2015 Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Storytelling from Scripps Howard Foundation 
2015 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Feature Reporting
2014 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News, which was awarded to the Globe Staff
2014 Edward R. Murrow Award 
2013 New England Newspaper and Press Association Publick Occurrences Award for Outstanding Journalism

Cell: 617-359-1004
@davabel