March 7 Parent Education Program: The Future of Civil Discourse

Alexander HeffnerShady Side Academy welcomes Alexander Heffner, host of The Open Mind on PBS, for a free parent education program, The Future of Civil Discourse, on Tuesday, March 7, from 7-8:30 p.m. The program will be held in the Hillman Center for Performing Arts on the SSA Senior School campus at 423 Fox Chapel Road, Fox Chapel, and is free and open to the public. Learn more at

As we reside increasingly in a post-factual and contextual democracy, the body politic can be desensitized to fact and fiction. The ubiquitous divisiveness saturating politics today is a pervasive plague on discourse and governance. Social media can proliferate clickbait, fake news and filter bubbles. Algorithms polarize information intake. So what are possible prescriptions to correct this vicious cycle of incivility? What is the future of civil dialogue and free speech on campus? How does our digital footprint translate into prosocial or antisocial behavior? Heffner will explore these questions and the contemporary state of U.S. media and politics.

Heffner will speak to SSA Senior School students on the same topic the following day, March 8, at an all-school assembly.

Alexander Heffner 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, 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. A native New Yorker, he is a graduate of Phillips Academy Andover and Harvard University. Learn more at

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