Press release

The 2018 Nannen Prize: Souad Mekhennet is honored with the special prize

Hamburg, 10 April 2018 – The German journalist and author Souad Mekhennet has been awarded the STERN editorial board’s special prize as part of the Nannen Prize series. With this award, STERN pays tribute to the extraordinary journalism demonstrated by Mekhennet in her reporting on terror.

Christian Krug, STERN Editor-in-Chief explains: “Souad Mekhennet is one of the few people in the world to have personally interviewed high-ranking members of the Islamic State and the terrorist organization Al-Qaida. Her reports provide valuable insights into what goes on behind the front lines of the Jihad, and into how the commanders and those pulling the strings think. Mekhennet’s aim has always been to understand, and help others understand, the roots of extremism. Through this special prize, we also pay tribute to the immense courage that this work requires.”

In the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, Souad Mekhennet investigated the attacker’s backgrounds in Hamburg. These initial investigations gave rise to her specialist field today: terror. Since then, she has been especially interested in the question of how and why young people become radicalized. Souad Mekhennet has worked for the likes of Zeit, Spiegel, ZDF, and the New York Times, and is currently staff writer at the Washington Post on the national security desk. She has published two books: “The Eternal Nazi: From Mauthausen to Cairo, the Relentless Pursuit of SS Doctor Aribert Heim,” co-written with Nicholas Kulish; and “I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad,” about her research within the ranks of radical jihadists.

Souad Mekhennet was born in Frankfurt in 1978 to a Turkish mother and Moroccan father. Her parents had come to Germany at the beginning of the 1970s as guest workers, meeting each other in Frankfurt. Mekhennet studied political science and international relations in Frankfurt. She then attended the Henri-Nannen-Schule (school of journalism) in Hamburg, graduating in May of 2001.

The Nannen Prize is awarded in six categories: The best reportage (Egon Erwin Kisch Prize), the best photo-reportage, the best staged photo, the best investigative accomplishment, the best documentary and the best web-project.

The award ceremony is to take place in Hamburg tomorrow. STERN Digital will broadcast the Nannen Prize award ceremony on 11 April from 7pm, live from the Elbphilharmonie (

About the Nannen Prize:
The Nannen Prize is regarded as one of Germany’s most prestigious awards for journalism. Since 2005, it has been paying tribute to outstanding work in the fields of print and photo journalism. The Nannen Prize seeks to promote sophisticated print and online journalism in the German-speaking countries, and to raise its profile within society. Benefactors of the prize are STERN magazine and the publishing company Gruner + Jahr. Its impartiality is guaranteed through a complex screening process and through juries comprising renowned journalists, authors, editors, and photographers from across almost all large publishing companies in Germany.

Press contact

Sabine Grüngreiff
Head of Brand Communication
Gruner + Jahr GmbH & Co KG
Telephone no.: 040 / 37 03 - 2468
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