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Leadership Award

 William Prochnau 

Journalist, Writer
Everett Community College, Washington

For William Prochnau, 1963 was a pivotal year.  He left Seattle to go to Washington, D.C., as a reporter for the Seattle Times. It was the beginning of his career as a national journalist, and he quickly became known for his thorough research and graceful writing.

By the end of the decade, Prochnau would serve two, three-month tours reporting from Vietnam, a place and time that would become a major part of his professional life.

In the 1980s, Prochnau began studying the journalists in Vietnam during the early years of the U.S. military build-up. He received a prestigious Alicia Patterson Fellowship to support his research. The result was the book Once Upon a Distant War, an examination of how the young, print reporters in Vietnam changed journalism. It was chosen by The New York Times as "notable book" in 1995 and is the subject of a feature film that is in pre-production.

Over four decades, Prochnau has covered everything from the civil rights movement and inner city housing, to the nuclear arms race and international kidnapping for some of the most prestigious English-language publications.

His first novel, Trinity's Child, was adapted for the HBO film, By Dawn's Early Light. A story he wrote for Vanity Fair was the basis for the movie Proof of Life that starred Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan. He is working on another novel, and will soon head to Australia for an assignment for Vanity Fair magazine.

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