The Institute for Media and Public Trust at Fresno State presents a talk with journalist Alexander Heffner at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, live on Zoom. Registration is free, and the event is open to the community.

In his talk entitled “The 2020 Campaign: Uncivil and Unwell in America,” Heffner will examine the critical role of information integrity in facilitating our democracy and ensuring a safe, fair and free election. Beginning with the 2016 presidential campaign, he will chronicle what he calls the last four years’ disinformation and “a concerted attempt to unravel fact-based discourse.” He will also explore what we can do to correct it in the weeks leading up the election and beyond.

“I think that trust is most important, and cultivating that trust means understanding misinformation and disinformation,” Heffner explained. “We live in an age where the intentional and malicious harm to the public is evident.”

Heffner is the host of “The Open Mind,” which airs Sundays at noon on PBS. What sets “The Open Mind” apart from other political programs, Heffner said, is a focus on public policy, ideas and how to work to solve the fundamental problems our society faces collectively.

“In the past three years, we have specifically confronted the rise of authoritarianism and bigotry and have done so explicitly. I think that is our distinction right now, that we are identifying and attempting to mitigate and extinguish those really dangerous threats to democracy,” Heffner said.

Heffner has been profiled in The Wrap, Mediaite, The Washington Post, New York Times and NBC News. His writing has appeared in many news outlets, including WIRED, Time, USA Today and The New York Daily News. He co-authored the book “A Documentary History of the United States.

He has received the University of Denver’s Anvil of Freedom Award, Franklin Pierce University’s Fitzwater Medallion for Leadership in Public Communication and Yale University’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

The event is hosted by the Department of Media, Communications and Journalism and the Fresno State Institute for Media and Public Trust.

For more information on this event, contact Jim Boren with the Institute for Media and Public Trust at Fresno State.