William Walter Prochnau (August 9, 1937 – March 28, 2018)[1][2][3][4] was an American journalist. In 1996 he began working for Vanity Fair as a contributing editor.[5]


Before working for Vanity Fair, Prochnau was the Washington-bureau chief for The Seattle Times and also served as a national affairs reporter for The Washington Post. He reported from Southeast Asia and Vietnam. He made two tours of Vietnam in 1965 and 1967. Prochnau wrote articles which include the profile of Pat Robertson and a report on the kidnapping of multinational businessmen held for ransom.[5]


Prochnau had two movies created from the works he wrote.[6] His work on the Vietnam War while at the Seattle Times landed him on the master list of Nixon political opponents.

His Vanity Fair article "Adventures in the Ransom Trade" inspired the 2000 film Proof of Life. His novel Trinity's Child was the basis for 1990's By Dawn's Early Light.[5]

He also wrote Once Upon a Distant War: David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, Peter Arnett--Young War Correspondents and Their Early Vietnam Battles.[5]

Awards and honors

Prochnau won an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship[7] in 1988 to research and write about the media as it operated in the Vietnam war and its aftermath.

Personal life

Prochnau's second marriage was to Laura Parker.[8] Together they wrote articles for Vanity Fair. They resided together in Washington, DC. Laura Parker also covers aviation for The Washington Post and served as a national correspondent for USA Today for ten years.[6]


External links