Alfred Friendly (December 30, 1911 – November 7, 1983) was an American journalist, editor and writer for the Washington Post. He began his career as a reporter with the Post in 1939 and became Managing Editor in 1955. In 1967 he covered the Mideast War for the Post in a series of articles for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1968. He is credited with bringing the Post from being a local paper to having a position of national prominence.
Friendly was born in Salt Lake City. After graduating in from Amherst College in 1933, he came to Washington, D.C., to look for work. A former professor who worked in the Commerce Department hired him, but his appointment to a high position at such a young age earned him criticism in the press and he resigned. For the next year he traveled the country in the middle of the Depression, eventually returning to become a reporter at the Washington Daily News, writing a column for government employees. Less than two years later he was hired to write the same kind of column for the Post, where he was soon assigned to cover war mobilization efforts and anti-war strikes.
When World War II broke out he entered the Army Air Force, rising to the rank of major before leaving in 1945. While in the military he was involved in cryptography and intelligence operations, finally becoming the second in command at Bletchley Park, and the highest ranking American officer there. After the war he remained in Europe as press aide to W. Averell Harriman, supervisor of the Marshall Plan.
A year later he returned to Washington and to the Post, where he became assistant managing editor in 1952 and managing editor in 1955. In 1966 he became an associate editor and a foreign correspondent based out of London. Hearing rumors of war in 1967 he headed to the Middle East where he was present throughout the 1967 War and wrote his series of award winning articles. He retired from the Post in 1971, though he continued writing occasional editorials and book reviews.
In 1983, at age 71, Alfred, who had developed both lung and throat cancer, committed suicide by shooting himself.
During his retirement he wrote several books, and after his death the Alfred Friendly Foundation was established. It administers the Alfred Friendly Press Partners to bring foreign journalists to the United States for internships at prominent news organizations. The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College holds a collection of his papers.
- Crime and Publicity (1967)
- Beaufort of the Admiralty (1977)
- The Dreadful Day: The Battle of Manzikert, 1071 (1982)
- Weil, Martin; Weil, Martin (8 November 1983). "Alfred Friendly, Former Managing Editor of The Post, Dies at 71". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 February 2017.