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David Scharfenberg

Ideas Writer and Editorial Board Member


David Scharfenberg has been the staff writer for the Boston Globe’s Ideas section since 2016. He has written about a wide range of topics - from the ethics of bringing extinct animals back from the dead to the mystique of Harvard Square.

Some of his most ambitious work weaves data and real-life stories together to reveal surprising stories about the American city. One piece, “Where white people go, where Black people go,” explored what cell phone location data reveals about the segregation of city dwellers’ movements (we’re even more segregated than we imagine).

Another story, “Miracle on the Mystic,” showed how small, blue-collar edge cities like Revere, Everett, and Malden have been engines of opportunity. And a piece on Uphams Corner, a Dorchester neighborhood that has managed to grow without displacing the people of color who have long called it home, was a finalist for the prestigious Online Journalism Awards.

Scharfenberg also writes extensively about American politics, with an eye for the unexplored - from the futility of Republican efforts to suppress voter turnout to the Democrats’ failure to run viable candidates in winnable House districts.

In addition to working as the Globe’s Ideas writer, Scharfenberg serves on the Globe editorial board, where he writes about housing, education, and politics.

Prior to joining the editorial board and Ideas, he worked for two years as a reporter in the Globe’s Statehouse bureau. He was a reporter for public radio station WBUR and editor of the Providence Phoenix newspaper. He has also written for the Providence Journal and the New York Times.

A Brown University graduate, he started his journalism career in California, where he won an award as the top education reporter in the state at a mid-size newspaper.

He can be reached at david.scharfenberg@globe.com. Follow him on X @dscharfGlobe.