Alec Klein is an award-winning investigative journalist, bestselling author and professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Klein is also the director of the Medill Innocence Project.
For two decades, Klein worked as a newspaper reporter, including eight years as an investigative business reporter at The Washington Post until the summer of 2008 when he joined the Medill faculty. He previously worked at The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun and The Virginian-Pilot. His investigations have led to significant reforms, congressional hearings, federal law, criminal convictions and more than half a billion dollars in government fines. He gives speeches and conducts workshops throughout the country on investigative reporting, journalism, writing, media, education, business and other issues he's written about.
Of his two books of nonfiction, Stealing Time: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Collapse of AOL Time Warner was an acclaimed national bestseller published by Simon & Schuster in 2003 that was translated into Japanese and Chinese and excerpted in Great Britain. Stealing Time, required reading in several college courses across the nation and used in textbooks in Europe, was selected as one of the "Best Business Books" by Library Journal and Strategy + Business.
Prior to Medill, Klein taught journalism at Georgetown University and American University. Among his 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.
Klein, a frequent guest speaker, has spoken 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 and education groups throughout the country. 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, Internet-based video talks in real time, to professionals throughout the country and abroad. Klein has served as a judge for the Society of American Business Editors and Writers contest and has appeared on several television and radio programs, including CNN, CNBC, CBS and NPR as well as the BBC and TV Asahi. Klein is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University.