Alexander Heffner


Civic Educator


Alexander is the host of The Open Mind on PBS. He has covered American politics, civic life and Millennials since the 2008 presidential campaign. His work has been profiled in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Variety, Medium, and on NBC News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, CNN, BBC and NY1, among other media outlets. His essays, reviews and op-eds have appeared in TIME, Reuters, RealClearPolitics, NYT's Room for Debate, The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe, among other publications. He has lectured, participated in and moderated panels at the Newseum, National Constitution Center, FDR Library and Museum, Center for Information and Bubble Studies, Institute of Applied Politics, Center for Telecommunication and Law, Brian Lamb School of Communication, Graduate School of Political Management, University of San Diego, University of Notre Dame, University of New Mexico, University of South Florida, Simpson College and Skidmore College, among other institutions of learning. He was the political director for WHRB 95.3 FM and host of The Political Arena. A native New Yorker, he is a graduate of Andover and Harvard.


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

—Annette Gordon-Reed, 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 Emeritus, National Endowment for 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, Brown University

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

Why Not a One-Term President?

A bold new Washingtonian precedent seems welcome to save the country from the corrupting role of the never-ending campaign.

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.

Roosevelt Revitalized

FDR's humanity and imagination—the crux of his connection to the American people—imbue the library.

Electoral Math 2016

Vice President Biden could have forged a formidable campaign premised on delivering real change.