Thursday, 4:30 PM
Globe fills two columnist slots with newsroom veterans
By Globe Staff
The Boston Globe, which recently lost two of its three metro columnists to buyout and promotion, announced today that it will fill the vacant positions with two veteran reporters with international backgrounds and a deep affection for the city.
With a combined 30 years of experience in the Globe newsroom, Yvonne Abraham and Kevin Cullen have an “intimate knowledge” of Boston and are each known for “distinguished and distinctive reporting on a wide range of stories,” Globe Editor Martin Baron said in a note to the staff today announcing the appointments.
"Both have the insatiable curiosity, writing chops, and energy that are the essential ingredients of a standout columnist," Baron said. "Both have strong opinions, too. With this appointment, they can finally let loose."
They will replace Eileen McNamara, who left the paper to become a journalism professor at Brandeis University, and Brian McGrory, who is now the deputy managing editor for local news.
Born in Sydney, Australia, to Lebanese immigrants, Abraham worked "every rotten job you can imagine," including a stint as a debt collector, on her way to earning degrees in history and English literature at the University of Sydney. She came to Boston on a Rotary Foundation fellowship in 1993 to get a master's degree in journalism at Boston University.
After a year as a staff writer at Boston magazine, Abraham was hired by the Boston Phoenix, where she covered city hall, education, and public housing. She came to the Globe in January 1999, covering beats that include immigration, the State House, presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004, and Pakistan after Sept. 11, 2001.
"I want to bring people and voices to the Globe who wouldn't otherwise be seen or heard," Abraham said.
Cullen, 48, is "Boston to the core," Baron said in today’s announcement. Born in the city and raised in Malden, he graduated from Malden High and went on to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst before withdrawing and enrolling at Trinity College in Dublin. He returned to UMass for his degree as a double major in journalism and political science.
His first newspaper job was at the Transcript-Telegram of Holyoke. He went on to the Boston Herald to cover police and was hired by the Globe in 1985. Cullen’s assignments have ranged from local crime to Europe, where he covered Ireland and the war in Kosovo. He was a member of the Spotlight team that exposed the FBI’s corrupt relationship with Whitey Bulger, and a member of the Pulitzer-winning investigative team that cracked the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. He was a Nieman fellow in 2003 and, most recently, a projects reporter.
"From the time I began working as a street reporter," Cullen said in the announcement sent to the staff, "my dream job was to be a metro columnist for the newspaper I grew up reading."