David Friend, Vanity Fair's editor of creative development, served as Life magazine's director of photography during the 1990s. Friend is the author of Watching the World Change: The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11 (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2006). He won Emmy and Peabody Awards as an executive producer of the CBS documentary 9/11, which has aired in more than 140 countries. He is currently working on a book about the culture wars of the 1990s—and the sexual history of the Clinton years—for Twelve, a division of Hachette.
As a correspondent, Friend has covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and elsewhere. As an editor, Friend broke the “Deep Throat” story in 2005, revealing that Mark Felt was Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s secret Watergate source. As a writer, Friend contributes frequently (on photographic and news subjects) to Vanity Fair, American Photo, and The Digital Journalist Web site. His humorous articles and cartoons have appeared in The Washington Post, Discover, The Common Review, and the on-line journal Salon. His poetry has appeared in The New Yorker.
Friend edited The Meaning of Life and More Reflections on the Meaning of Life (Little, Brown). Along with Graydon Carter, Friend helped edit Vanity Fair's Hollywood (Viking Studio), Oscar Night (Knopf), Vanity Fair, The Portraits (NPG/Abrams), Vanity Fair’s Tales of Hollywood (Penguin), Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire (Rodale), Vanity Fair’s Presidential Profiles (Abrams), and The Great Hangover: 21 Tales of the New Recession, from the Pages of Vanity Fair (Harper Perennial).
Friend was named curator of the year at the 2008 Lucie Awards for Photography, along with co-curator Terence Pepper, for their exhibition “Vanity Fair Portraits: 1913-2008,” which was viewed by more than 400,000 museum-goers during its two-year run at London’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG), the Scottish NPG, Edinburgh; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the NPG, Canberra; and Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum. As a curator, he has mounted exhibitions for the International Center of Photography (on child war-victims in Rwanda), the United Nations (on the conflict in Somalia), the Newseum (“Vanity Fair and the Birth of the Modern Age: 1914- 1936”; “60 Years of Life”), and other venues. Friend, who has served on various photographic juries, including the World Press Photo Awards, created the Alfred Eisenstaedt Awards for Magazine Photography under the auspices of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, coordinators of the Pulitzer Prizes. He is currently a board member of the W. Eugene Smith Fund.
Friend established both Life and Vanity Fair's websites. His interactive feature for DigitalJournalist.org -- "20 Years: AIDS and Photography" -- won the Online Journalism Award in 2001 for best story published by an independent Web site.
Friend has conducted interviews with Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, Israel's Ariel Sharon, and reclusive figures such as exiled Russian writer Aleksandr Solzenitsyn and photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. He helped secure exclusive photo sessions with a variety of subjects, including the victims of Chernobyl, White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and George W. Bush with his war council. Articles that Friend has edited have received honors in the areas of religious tolerance (Wilbur Award), arms control (Olive Branch Award), and famine coverage (World Hunger Year Award).
Friend graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College in 1977. He attended Highland Park (Illinois) High School, and is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan.
Friend’s wife, Nancy Paulsen, who has edited children’s books for 30 years, runs her own imprint, Nancy Paulsen Books, for Penguin USA. They have two children, Sam and Molly.