Richard Heffner’s Open Mind

Air date: 06/21/2014

Richard Heffner’s Open Mind Explores the Contemporary Challenges of the Digital Age, American Politics and Other Emerging Issues in a New Season on THIRTEEN


In Season 35, premiering Saturday, June 21 at 12 p.m., Richard Heffner’s grandson Alexander Heffner takes the helm


Richard Heffner’s Open Mind, the weekly public affairs program designed to elicit meaningful insights into the challenges Americans face in a variety of contemporary areas of concern, returns for its 35th season on Saturday, June 21 at 12 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

Alexander Heffner, the grandson of the late program creator and host Richard Heffner who died on December 17, 2013, will take on the role of host. He will continue the series’ more than 50 year tradition of engaging viewers through a thoughtful excursion into the world of ideas. Programs this season will explore the ideas of journalists, historians, elected officials and practitioners of law, policy and many other realms of American life.

The season’s premiere episode will feature an interview with education pioneer John Palfrey. The preeminent authority on technology and civic engagement, Palfrey is Chair of the Digital Public Library of America as well as Head of School at Phillips Academy Andover.

New York Times best-selling author Baratunde Thurston, Marshall Project Editor-in-Chief Bill Keller, Wikimedia’s Sue Gardner, Congressman Charles Rangel, Congress and national politics Washington Post National Political Reporter Wesley Lowery, Green Jobs leader Kate Gordon and celebrated novelist Samantha Chang are among this season’s guests.

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.

His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, Newsday and RealClearPolitics, among other leading newspapers and magazines. He has been interviewed about politics, education and stories in the news by PBS, C-SPAN, CNN and the BBC, among other national and local broadcast venues. He was political director and correspondent for WHRB 95.3 FM and host and managing editor of The Political Arena, a Sunday afternoon public affairs broadcast.

Heffner has given talks and moderated panels at major universities and colleges, including the University of California-Irvine, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the School of Politics and Economics at Claremont Graduate University, the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, Long Island University and Bryn Mawr College.

The program’s website serves as an archive of Richard Heffner’s legacy programming, as well as a destination for viewers to watch full episodes of the new program.

“We are pleased to bring viewers, especially a young generation of Americans, into the next chapter of Open Mind,” says Alexander Heffner. “We look forward to continuing my grandfather’s legacy of nonadversarial conversation of national concern.”

Richard Heffner’s Open Mind is a production of Richard Heffner Associates. WNET is the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations and operator of NJTV.

Elaine Heffner is Executive Producer. Daphne Doelger is Associate Producer.

Continuing production of Richard Heffner’s Open Mind has been made possible by grants from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, The Bluestein Family Foundation, The Joan Ganz Cooney and Peter G. Peterson Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Joann and Kenneth Wellner Foundation, and, from the corporate community, Mutual of America.


About WNET
As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mike Schneider and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.

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