What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
We’ve all had events that changed our lives forever in a bad way. A wife could tell her husband she’s been having an affair or he could tell her he’s an addict to porn. A doctor could say the word “cancer” to patients. A son could die in a car accident.
These events shatter everything we know and require so much to recover from. Another one is a huge accusation of moral turpitude. My guest had just such an event happened. While he had been teaching journalism and living the life of an investigator, he had been accused suddenly of sexual misconduct and the #MeToo movement jumped in. Sadly, after Kavanaugh, I do have suspicions about what happened. My guest lost everything for the time and had nowhere to go.
But then, he used this to start asking bigger questions about life and especially started looking into the story of Jesus. As a result, he became a Christian. Now he’s telling his story in his book about how it happened. The book is Aftermath and my guest is Alec Klein.
So who is he?
According to his bio:
Alec Klein is a bestselling author and award-winning investigative journalist formerly of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. His groundbreaking investigations have uncovered a wide array of wrongdoing, leading to significant reforms, congressional hearings, changes in federal law, criminal convictions and more than half a billion dollars in government fines. His investigations have also set free several prisoners who were wrongfully convicted of murder and accused of other crimes. And Klein has helped dozens of excessively sentenced women gain their freedom and regain their lives through parole, commutations and pardons.
His first book, Stealing Time: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Collapse of AOL Time Warner, was a national bestseller published by Simon & Schuster. The book was translated into Japanese and Chinese, excerpted in Great Britain and selected as one of the “Best Business Books” by Library Journal and Strategy + Business.
His second book of nonfiction, A Class Apart: Prodigies, Pressure, and Passion Inside One of America’s Best High Schools, also published by Simon & Schuster, was named “One of the Best Education Books of the Year” by the American School Board Journal and translated into Chinese, where it went through several printings.
His memoir, Aftermath: When It Felt Like Life Was Over, was published in 2020 by Republic Book Publishers. It is a story about faith, forgiveness and redemption.
As a consultant since 2018, Klein helped to create and launch an Oklahoma nonprofit that assists wrongfully convicted and excessively sentenced prisoners in regaining their freedom. He devised a system that has helped free dozens of women through parole and commutation, including some who had been sentenced to life in prison. He also helped to create a drug treatment program at a nonprofit in New York to give people a second chance at employment after failing drug screens. Over the past two years, Klein has worked on a pro bono basis to help several other prisoners regain their freedom, while he has consulted on various writing and media projects. He is also the creator and host of the podcast series, Life On The Other Side: stories from prisoners, their families and those helping them find justice and redemption.
From 2011 to 2018, Klein ran The Medill Justice Project, a national investigative journalism center at Northwestern University. A full, tenured professor from 2008 to 2018, Klein led an investigation that discovered exculpatory information, prompting a federal judge to release an Illinois prisoner a decade before her release on a first-degree murder conviction, which was overturned. Other investigations Klein oversaw led to the exoneration of a Miami man who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Klein also directed a probe that freed an Oregon mother who had faced more than 30 years in prison. In addition, Klein led an investigation in which a Louisiana inmate was released from solitary confinement after more than 36 years. Over the years, Klein has fought and won Freedom of Information Act appeals and access to records in state and federal courts as part of his investigations.
Under Klein’s guidance, The Medill Justice Project earned recognition nationally and internationally for its investigations, photography, videos, podcasts and website, including nearly 100 awards in seven years. Among them was a national Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the first in Medill’s history, an Investigative Reporters & Editors award, a Sigma Delta Chi award and a Sunshine Award from the national Society of Professional Journalists. Klein also oversaw investigations that were honored with a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, Peter Lisagor Awards, local Emmy nominations, Eppy Awards from Editor & Publisher as well as awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, the Online News Association and others. Klein was also named to the Northwestern University Associated Student Government’s annual Honor Roll after being selected from a campus-wide nomination process and chosen from nearly 1,200 nominations of faculty and administrators. He was also recognized as one of six Medill faculty members by the Multicultural Student Affairs for being significant and influential people in their lives, based on an annual survey.
As a Washington Post investigative reporter from 2000 to 2008, Klein wrote a groundbreaking series on the little-known but widespread practice of reusing single-use medical devices in the United States. The stories documented patient injuries and device malfunctions and showed how the industry has eluded comprehensive oversight and is comprised of several entrepreneurs who have run afoul of federal authorities. The series, which won the Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for special projects, prompted an investigation by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s investigative arm, congressional hearings and industry reform.
Klein also wrote a three-part series for The Washington Post about the world’s big three credit-rating firms, showing how they dominate an important part of global finance with little oversight or accountability, how the rating system is subject to manipulation and conflicts of interest, and how the credit raters use strong-arm tactics to generate business. His series, a first-place winner in Washington’s Society of Professional Journalists, prompted an investigation by the New York attorney general, congressional hearings and the passage of federal law to strengthen government oversight of the industry.
Among his other stories at the Washington Post, Klein conducted a yearlong investigation of AOL’s takeover of Time Warner. His investigation, based on hundreds of confidential AOL documents, showed how AOL secretly inflated its revenue to pull off the largest merger in U.S. history to create the biggest media company in the world. His investigation sparked investigations of AOL by the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Klein’s series also prompted the company, then called AOL Time Warner, to launch its own internal investigation of its accounting, which led the company to admit that it had improperly reported at least $190 million in advertising revenue, causing it to restate two years of financial results. The company agreed to pay $510 million to settle criminal and civil allegations that its AOL division improperly pumped up revenue before and after its merger with Time Warner. In the wake of Klein’s investigation, several top AOL executives were forced to resign, several business partners involved in AOL’s schemes were indicted and convicted on fraud charges and the AOL division that was the focus of his investigation was disbanded. For his coverage of AOL, Klein won the Gerald Loeb Award, business journalism’s highest honor. He also won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in project reporting and the Virginia Press Association in news writing.
Klein has won a number of other awards and fellowships, including at the East-West Center and the Poynter Institute. Klein, who also worked as a reporter at the Baltimore Sun and Virginian-Pilot, is a frequent guest speaker, having presented at the National Press Foundation, the American Press Institute, the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the Asian American Journalists Association, the South Asian Journalists Association, Unity: Journalists of Color, and various newspapers and other media outlets, schools, associations, clubs, conferences and education groups throughout the country and the world, including Japan, France, Canada and South Africa. Klein has been a guest lecturer at several colleges, including the University of California at Berkeley, George Washington University and New York University. He was also selected as a business writer-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Klein has given a series of Webinars to professionals throughout the country and abroad. Klein has served as a judge for the Society of American Business Editors and Writers awards and other journalism contests and has appeared on several television and radio programs, including CNN, CNBC, CBS and NPR as well as the BBC and TV Asahi. .
Klein, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University, is the author of several staged plays, a novel and the foreword to an edition of Show Me The Money: Writing Business and Economics Stories for Mass Communication, a textbook adopted at universities across the nation.
Born in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., and raised in New York City, Klein is the son of a Japanese artist and an American journalist.
We have also caught up on some more shows and I have uploaded them. More will be coming very soon. Thank you for listening.