Kevin Cullen is an author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has written for The Boston Globe since 1985. At the Globe, he served on the Spotlight team, as well as a local, national and foreign correspondent before becoming a columnist.
He initially worked as the newspaper’s law enforcement correspondent, and won the Livingston Award for his 1987 portrait of an East Boston hoodlum. He spent several stints on the Spotlight Team, the Globe’s investigative unit, and was part of the team that first exposed the mobster James “Whitey” Bulger as an FBI informant in 1988.
He spent more than 20 years covering the conflict in Northern Ireland, and in 1994 was honored by the Overseas Press Club of America for interpretive reporting from Northern Ireland.
In 1997, he was appointed as Dublin bureau chief, covering the peace process in Northern Ireland full time, the only American journalist who did so. He was described by The Irish Times as “the most informed American journalist on Irish affairs,” while the media critic at The Independent of London called him “the most astute observer of Irish affairs in the American media.”
After a year in Dublin, he moved to London to serve as chief European correspondent, covering war in the former Yugoslavia. He reported from more than 20 countries across Europe.
In 2001, after four years abroad, he returned to Boston and joined the Globe’s investigative team which won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003 for exposing the coverup of sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests. The team also won many other awards for those exposes, including the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the George Polk Award for National Reporting, and the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting.
In 2007, he was promoted to metro columnist and the following year won the Batten Medal from the American Society of Newspaper Editors for a selection of columns on people down on their luck. In 2010 and 2014, he was named best columnist by the National Headliners Awards. His columns highlighting the suicide of a 15-year-old girl who was bullied by schoolmates won the top award from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University in 2011.
In 2013, the American Society of Newspaper Editors awarded him the Batten Medal again. He is the only person to win the award twice. “In compact prose, Cullen tells powerful stories that move the heart and get results,” the Batten Medal judges wrote. “He’s not just a chronicler of the human condition, he’s an advocate for those whose lives he touches.”
In 2014, Cullen won the Mike Royko Award as best columnist chosen by the American Society of Newspaper Editors and was part of the team that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. Separately, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary.
The ASNE judges said: “Kevin Cullen’s work demonstrates a deft writing touch, a ferocious spirit and a no-holds-barred clarity that is by turns bracing and brilliant. His well-reported columns surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing were particularly noteworthy for their humanity and the way they captured the defiant spirit of a city simultaneously reeling from a devastating attack.”
In 2016, he was named best newspaper columnist by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Cullen has been a frequent commentator on National Public Radio, the BBC, and RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster. His work appears regularly in The Irish Times and Sunday Independent in Ireland. He appears weekly on Newstalk radio’s “Lunchtime” program in Ireland.
He is co-author of “Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church,” and was a contributor to the book, “Britain and Ireland: Lives Entwined II.” He is co-author of the New York Times bestseller, “Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He wrote the opening chapter for the Houghton Mifflin anthology, “Our Boston,” to benefit victims of the Marathon bombings.
A Boston native, Cullen was graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, attended Trinity College in Dublin, and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.