Souad Mekhennet is a German-born journalist, the daughter of Turkish “guest workers” (gastarbeiter), who is now an investigative journalist for the Washington Post, covering “militant Islamist networks.”
She was recently interviewed by Sabine Kieselbach of Deutsche Welle about her job’s dangers and why it is important to speak to jihadists.
SK: Ms. Mekhennet, the film “All the President’s Men” about the Watergate scandal in the 1970s inspired your career choice. Now here you are, working at the paper where the two investigative journalists who broke Watergate worked. How does that feel?
Souad Mekhennet: It feels almost surreal. I watched this film about the Watergate affair as a teenager. I found it unbelievable to see that two Washington Post journalists could, through their research, cause the downfall of a U.S. president. I thought that was incredible. These men, who did not come from influential or wealthy families, were able to wield such influence through their jobs and make such a difference. But, of course, it was a very long road for the daughter of guest workers in Germany to make it all the way to the Washington Post.