You could say NBC Dateline producer and ’92 Stony Brook alum Dan Slepian covers the injustice beat. His job is to unearth stories where justice has not been served; where people are determined to right wrongs and find the answers no one else is giving them.
During a recent interview in the blog “Crime Rant,” Dan explained that he likes to discover “Any other true crime story that desperately needs someone to listen…to bring a voice to the voiceless,” and ultimately achieve what Dan says makes it all worthwhile: “Finding the truth.”
One of his proudest achievements, the controversial documentary “In the Shadow of Justice,” aired on primetime. It chronicled the tragic story of two innocent men who were arrested for the 1990 killing of a Palladium nightclub bouncer and jailed for 15 years.
After the Dateline report aired, not only were the two men exonerated and released from jail, but a man who investigators believed was the real shooter was arrested.
Dan’s interest in “Getting people involved in controlling their own destiny,” began during his college years at Stony Brook, serving as student government president for two years.
New York Times Editor David Joachim and former Editor of The Statesman remembers squaring off on a number of occasions with Dan. “Our relationship at first was naturally tense,” said David, “But I had, and continue to have, great admiration for him.”
“Stony Brook’s fertile environment allowed me to become who I am today,” said Dan. The University also holds a “special place” in his heart, because it’s where he met his wife Jocelyn Kester (’93) and now mother of their daughter Casey.
His experiences at Stony Brook have inspired Dan to reach out and mentor the younger members of his team at NBC.
Dan also volunteers time to serve on the Stony Brook School of Journalism Advisory Board alongside media heavyweights such as Pulitzer Prize-winners Bob Greene and Washington Post‘s Scott Higham (another Stony Brook alum) and New York Times Editor Jon Landman.
Journalism Dean Howard Schneider is gratified by Dan’s involvement. “Dan has been a very enthusiastic supporter . . . But most important of all, he came to campus and inspired our students with a story of his fight to reverse an injustice. It’s the highest calling of a professional journalist. There’s no better lesson we could teach our students. And they could have no better teacher.”