Richard Douglas Heffner (born August 5, 1925) is the creator and host of The Open Mind, a public affairs television show first broadcast in 1956. He is a University Professor of Communications and Public Policy at Rutgers University and also teaches an honors seminar at New York University. He is the author of A Documentary History of the United States, a verbatim anthology of important public documents in American history, among them the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail. He is also the editor of Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. Heffner collaborated with Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel on the publication of Conversations With Elie Wiesel, released by Schochen books in 2001.
A protegé of Edward R. Murrow, Heffner helped establish public television (what is now called WNET Channel 13) in New York City and was its first general manager, from 1961 to 1963. From 1974 to 1994 Heffner was chairman of the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). He has also worked for CBS under the late Richard Salant.
Heffner received his BA (1946) and MA (1947) degrees in history from Columbia University.
Heffner teaches two courses at Rutgers University. "Mass Communications and the American Image" is taught through the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, while "Communication and Human Values" is an honors undergraduate seminar taught through the School of Arts and Sciences. He also teaches the same honors undergraduate course, "Communication and Human Values," at New York University.
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