A Reporter Who Embodies All the President’s Symmetry

Souad Mekhennet has made good on that aspirational movie cutout

Henry Holt & Co.

The fourth question in Souad Mekhennet’s “Tell Us 5 Things About Your Book” questionnaire in The New York Times asks her to name a creative person, other than a writer, who influenced her and her work. Her muse turns out to be a guy named Bob, playing another Bob:

“It was a movie that led to my decision to become a journalist: All the President’s Men. I don’t know if Robert Redford played a role in this, but that movie had a huge impact on me when I was in my teenage years in Germany and was looking for what to do.” …

“I forced my parents to see this movie. I took scissors and cut out the black-and-white photograph in the newspaper ad that showed Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in the newsroom. I put this picture on my door in my room and told my parents, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”

And do it she did, currently for the very same paper. Mekhennet, a Post correspondent who covers security and terrorism, has been making the publicity rounds in support of her new book I Was Told Not to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad, which arrives in bookstores June 13.

At press time, the hardcover of Mekhennet’s new book is number one on Amazon’s list of Islam bestsellers, followed by the Kindle edition at number four.