Journalist & Writer

Civic Educator


Alexander, a graduate of Andover and Harvard, is host of The Open Mind on PBS Channel THIRTEEN/WNET and CUNY TV. He was special correspondent for Need to Know, crisscrossing the nation to chronicle 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, American Way Magazine and RealClearPolitics. He has been interviewed about politics, education and stories in the news by PBS, C-SPAN, CNN, and the BBC. He 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. He was political director and correspondent for WHRB 95.3 FM and the host and managing editor of The Political Arena, a Sunday afternoon public affairs broadcast. He is co-author of A Documentary History of the United States, an anthology employed in college and high school courses.


Heffner is a bright new light on the journalistic scene: insightful and provocative.

—Annette Gordon-Reed, Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History, Harvard University

Heffner is a totally engaging, whip-smart and approachable proponent for the country's young people. When he spoke to my class, my students perked up immediately. He not only spoke to them, he encouraged them. He inspired them. He is a devoted advocate for civic engagement.

—Rick Alloway, Professor of Journalism, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

I know of no one at such a young age who has committed himself more fully to the craft of journalism than Alexander Heffner. He has covered the Obama administration as a credentialed White House correspondent, interviewed Cabinet members and written incisively on topics as diverse as Millennial politics, civic education, Iranian youth and home lending.

—Jim Leach, Chairman, National Endowment of the Humanities

Heffner is a remarkable young man whose involvement in current affairs was already impressive long before his college years.

—Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Heffner is one of the most thorough and thoughtful political hosts in the country — at any age. His personal style brings together the best elements of Edward R. Murrow, Jim Lehrer and Chris Matthews to create his own unique brand of journalism for the next generation.

—Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America

Heffner combines a passion for politics with the skills to make it interesting for our next generation of leaders, and his boundless energy makes it exciting for all.

—Steve Scully, Political Editor, C-SPAN

Heffner has a gift for understanding the politics of his generation. I most took away how impressive our undergraduates appeared under his leadership as a moderator.

—Katherine Tate, Professor of Political Science, University of California-Irvine

Heffner has a keen and thorough understanding of U.S. politics. He writes much more humanely than most political junkies do. He is a master of all media, and knows how newspapers work.

—John Timpane, Books Editor, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Heffner is as well-informed as any so-called professional talk show host and it was a pleasure chatting him up and trying like heck NOT to get stumped by him.

—Chuck Todd, Political Director, NBC News

Heffner exhibits a keen grasp of economic policy, from the impact of big business on competition to the conflict between countries and corporations, demystifying with grace and clarity what can be a difficult subject.

—Gary Rawlins, Global Editions Editor, USA TODAY

Featured Articles

Words and Inaction

President Obama missed a series of opportunities to reshape the socioeconomic landscape to be more equitable for loan-ridden students and jobless youth in his first term.

The Young and the Restless

The 2000 recall fiasco, 9/11, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the Great Recession, Tucson and now Newtown have cleared the path, again and again, for a new breed of politics.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is Civics-Minded

Civic illiteracy and lethargy plague the nation.

The City at War

A great mobilization of humanity led New Yorkers of all creeds to help win WWII.

The Smile Wins

If we study U.S. presidential elections since 1960, the candidate with the better personality always prevails.