Longtime newsman Elie Abel, 83, who covered the 1956 Hungarian uprising for the New York Times and the 1968 uprising in Prague for NBC, died July 23 at the Casey House hospice in Rockville.
Mr. Abel had been ill for several years after a severe stroke in 1998, his son said. He also had Alzheimer's disease.
His career ranged from working for the Windsor Star of Ontario to the New York Times. He was a foreign correspondent for wire services and for NBC News. He wrote books, directed journalism schools at two major universities on opposite coasts, served on numerous panels and collected major awards for his radio, television and print work, including sharing in the Times's 1958 Pulitzer Prize for international coverage.
He was dean of the graduate school of journalism at Columbia University from 1970 to 1979, then moved west to teach at Stanford University, where he also served as the communications department chairman for three years. He returned to the East Coast as director of the Stanford in Washington program in 1993 and retired a year later. He lived in the District since then.
Born in Montreal, Mr. Abel received a bachelor's degree from McGill University and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia in 1942. He worked as a newspaperman in Windsor for a year, then served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.
After the war, he worked successively for the Montreal Gazette, the North American Newspaper Alliance in Berlin, the Los Angeles Times and for the Overseas News Agency as its United Nations correspondent.
In 1949, he joined the New York Times, where he was a national and foreign correspondent for 11 years. He worked in Detroit and Washington. He became the bureau chief in Belgrade, where he covered the Hungarian revolt, for which he shared the Pulitzer Prize. He became bureau chief in New Delhi in 1958 and covered the takeover of Tibet by China.
In 1959, he became Washington bureau chief for the Detroit News, a job he held for two years before switching to broadcasting. He worked for NBC first as the State Department correspondent, then as London bureau chief and finally as diplomatic correspondent. In 1970, he turned to academia.
Under his oversight as journalism dean at Columbia, the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship Program for economic and business journalism was founded.
Mr. Abel's first book, "The Missile Crisis" (1966), was considered the definitive text on the Cuban crisis for decades after its publication. "How close we came to Armageddon I did not fully realize until I started researching this book,'' he said.
He wrote many books, articles and reviews, including "Roots of Involvement: The U.S. in Asia 1784-1971" (1971) with Marvin Kalb, and Averell Harriman's memoir, "Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin, 1941-1946" (1975) with Harriman.
The timing for his last book, "The Shattered Bloc: Behind the Upheaval in Eastern Europe" (1990), was just about perfect. He rushed to rewrite several chapters just months before publication as the Berlin Wall fell and political changes somersaulted through the region.
"You try to step back in your writing from day-by-day events. But it's hard to keep up when history is moving at such a fast pace in this rather strange and miraculous year of 1989,'' he told reviewers.
The Inter American Press Association gave him its 1997 Grand Prize for Freedom, and Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law presented him with its 1984 First Amendment Defender Award. He won the Overseas Press Club Award in 1969 and 1970 and won a Peabody Award for radio news in 1968.
Mr. Abel served on many international and journalism boards and was a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington.
His wife of 45 years, Corinne Abel, died in 1991.
Survivors include his wife of nine years, Charlotte Hammond Page Dunn of Washington; two children, Mark Abel of Richmond, Calif., and Suzanne Abel of Palo Alto, Calif.; and one grandchild.