When former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels guests on the public affairs series “The Open Mind,” host Alexander Heffner won’t be fixated on the summer of Donald Trump. Instead, the half hour will be focused on the link between college affordability and economic growth. Such in-depth, high-minded conversations have been a hallmark of the public television series throughout a run that has lasted almost 60 years, making it one of the longest running series on TV.
There’s another model: civic discourse, which presents ideas for all they’re worth, giving thought leaders airtime and respect, with a questioner who probes and challenges, looking for clarity and depth. The Open Mind falls into that camp. Then there’s the guest list. Though it often brought on world-famous people, The Open Mind sought true forward-thinkers regardless of celebrity status. Who would they be today? A fascinating bunch.
Alexander Heffner was a special correspondent for PBS’s Need to Know chronicling the Millennial vote in 2012. He founded and edited SCOOP08 and SCOOP44, the first-ever national student newspapers covering the 2008 campaign and the Obama administration, and taught a civic education/journalism seminar in New York City public school classrooms.