Abigail Leonard is an independent reporter / producer. She is a frequent contributor to NPR News, Time Magazine and New York Times video and has also written for the Washington Post, Newsweek and Vox. Most recently, she covered Japanese news and politics for 6 years from Tokyo. Before that, she wrote and produced long-form news documentary stories in the U.S. as a staff producer for PBS, ABC and Al Jazeera America. She was also a lead writer for "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and the lead writer for "The War Room with Jennifer Granholm".
Stories she produced resulted in legislative action: The US Congressional Veterans Affairs Committee requested the use of "Who's Helping Our Wounded Vets?", a three-part series she produced on PBS, for congressional testimony in a process that led to congressional action on compensation for veterans' caregivers.
The ACLU used a two-part series about privatized prison healthcare in their 2014 lawsuit Parsons v Ryan as evidence of prisoner abuse; the lawsuit led to the termination of Wexford, the State of Arizona's prison healthcare contractor, and court-ordered reforms.
Other stories she worked on won a national Emmy Award, an Overseas Press Club Award and an Association of Health Care Journalists Award.
Stories she reported from Japan earned a 2018 National Headliner Award and a 2018 James Beard Foundation Media Award Nomination. She was a 2011 East-West Center Japan Fellow, a 2010 UN Foundation Journalism Fellow and elected First Vice President of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (and interim President), a 2000-member national press organization established in 1945. She also chaired the FCCJ's Scholarship Program.
Before she became a journalist, she was a middle school teacher for the New Orleans Public School District through Teach for America.