An award-winning reporter, documentary filmmaker, and 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 throughout New England.

longtime reporter at The Boston Globe, Abel is also a professor of the practice in the journalism department at Boston University. 

Abel and his colleagues at the Globe won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. His films have been broadcast on the Discovery Channel, PBS, BBC World News, and other major platforms, winning numerous awards. His most recent film, “Entangled,” won a Jackson Wild award, known as the Oscars of nature films, and was nominated for a national Emmy. Abel’s work has also won an Edward R. Murrow award, the Ernie Pyle award from the Scripps Howard Foundation, and Sigma Delta Chi awards for feature reporting and climate reporting.

On April 15, 2013, Abel was standing on the finish line of the Boston Marathon when two bombs detonated a few steps away. On leave from the Globe, he was working on a film that day and recorded the horrible aftermath of the attack. He filed the first story while filming the rescue efforts, which was part of a package of Globe stories that
 won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. 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 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 a narrative he reported for six months about the toll on one family, the Richards. That story 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, 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 little person 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 that was 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 Boston Marathon with the subject of the film, Juli Windsor, and 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 fishery in New England. That film, "Sacred Cod," premiered at the Camden International Film Festival in Maine and was broadcast to a global audience by the Discovery Channel in the spring of 2017. It went on to be screened at film festivals and in educational venues around the world by Bullfrog Films. 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 an award-winning 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 worried they were losing their way of life. The film was screened at film festivals including the 2018 Miami Film FestivalEnvironmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital, and the American Film Festival in Warsaw, Poland. A jury at the Miami Film Festival selected the film as the winner of the Knight Foundation's Made in Miami AwardThe film was released on many digital platforms by Gravitas VenturesSee more about the film and a trailer here

In 2017, Abel produced and directed a film about a climate-fueled conflict between the United States and Canada over waters that both countries have claimed since the end of the
Revolutionary War. That film, called "Lobster War: The Fight Over the World's Richest Fishing Grounds," premiered in the fall of 2018 at the International Maritime Film Festival, where a jury selected it as the runner-up for the grand prize for Best Feature Film. Lobster War was featured at scores of independent theaters and film festivals, including the 2018 Mystic Film Festival, where it won an award for Best New England Film. The film was released on many digital platforms by Gravitas Ventures. See more about the film and a trailer here.

In 2020, Abel produced and directed a film about how climate change has accelerated a collision between one of the world’s most endangered species, North America’s most valuable fishery, and a federal agency mandated to protect both. The film, "Entangled,chronicles the efforts to protect North Atlantic right whales from extinction, the impacts of those efforts on the lobster industry, and how NOAA has struggled to balance the vying interests. The film, which was backed by the Pulitzer Center and LEF Foundation, premiered at the Woods Hole Film Festival in 2020 and was featured at more than a dozen other festivals. It was nominated for a national Emmy award and won a Jackson Wild award, known as the Oscars of nature films. It won Best Feature Film at the International Wildlife Film Festival and at the Water Docs Film Festival. It also won Best Conservation Film at the Mystic Film Festival and at the International Ocean Film Festival. The film also received the John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and the Director's Vision Award at the Blue Water Film Festival, among other awards. Entangled was broadcast to a national audience on PBS's World Channel on Earth Day in 2021. It's being distributed by CuriosityStream, Gravitas VenturesBullfrog Films, and Magnify MediaSee more about the making of the film here

In 2023, Abel produced and directed two new films: "In the Whale" and "Inundation District."

In the Whale is about arguably the greatest fish story ever told, though this one is true. It’s the account of a man who survived to tell the tale of being swallowed by a whale, and what happened after he was spit out. "In the Whale" premiered at the New Hampshire Film Festival, where it won the Audience Choice Award. It also won Best New England Film at the Mystic Film Festival and the Director's Vision Award at the Blue Water Film Festival. The film is now being screened at theaters and festivals around the country. For screenings, see more here.

"Inundation District" is about the implications of one city’s decision to ignore the threats posed by climate change and spend billions of dollars on building a new waterfront district — on landfill, at sea level. Inundation District premiered at the GlobeDocs Film Festival and is now being screened at theaters and other festivals around the country. For screenings, see more here.

Abel also hosted a podcast about climate change called Climate Rising. About a dozen episodes of the podcast, produced by Harvard Business School, began airing in the fall of 2019 on iTunes and other major podcast platforms. Listen to the trailer and other episodes here.

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 fail to supply water that meets federal safety standards, and the damage caused by major cuts to environmental agencies. He has written about the threat of rising sea levels to Palm Beach, and one famous property there. Other stories have 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. He has also moderated debates about climate change between mayoral candidates in Boston as well as panel discussions about toxic chemicals known as PFAS. In 2022, a project he worked on with colleagues called "Lobster Trap" won a Sigma Delta Chi award for environment/climate reporting, ranked first in features reporting by the Society for Features Journalism, and was a finalist for a Gerald Loeb Award and MIT's Victor K. McElheny award for science journalism.

Abel has taught journalism for years, including classes on beat reporting at Boston University, Emerson College, and Northeastern University. He taught narrative writing at Harvard University Extension School, writing for lawyers at Vermont Law School, and seminars on travel writing at the Boston Center for Adult Education. In 2022, he was appointed as a full-time professor of the practice in science journalism at Boston University.

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, a small town on the border of the Everglades, 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 for decades he spent every Valentine's Day helping 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.