(p. D7) James Ridgeway, an investigative reporter who exposed corporate dirty tricks, the secrets of environmental polluters and the horrors of solitary confinement in the nation’s prison systems, died on Saturday [Feb. 13, 2021] in Washington.
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Mr. Ridgeway focused on the nation’s 2,200 public and private institutions of higher learning in “The Closed Corporation: American Universities in Crisis” (1968). The book contended that colleges and universities, hiding behind tax exemptions and interlocked with private corporations and government agencies, were riddled with conflicts of interest in a corrupt system of profiteering.
“Ridgeway notes that 50 years ago, the universities were run by social reformers and scholars,” H.L. Nieburg wrote in a review for The Times, “while today they are operated by teams of middle-management executives more involved with pyramiding financial holdings and keeping faculty in line than in undergraduates.”
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In 2012, after the death of Alex Cockburn, with whom he had shared a column in The Voice, Mr. Ridgeway wrote in Mother Jones: “We did our reporting in a way that most people in the press would die for. Nobody censored what we wrote. Nobody messed with how things were written, or dreamed of questioning a political opinion.”
For the full obituary, see:
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date Feb. 14, 2021, and has the title “James Ridgeway, Hard-Hitting Investigative Journalist, Dies at 84.”)
James Ridgeway’s book on higher education was:
Ridgeway, James. The Closed Corporation: American Universities in Crisis. New York: Random House, 1968.