Robert Kuttner & Hildy Zenger

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. He writes columns for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times international edition. 

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Hildy Zenger is the pen name of a writer who works for a newspaper owned by a private equity firm. As newspaper buffs will recognize, Hildy is for Hildy Johnson, star reporter for the fictitious Examiner in the Hecht-MaArthur classic, The Front Page. And if you took 11th grade American history, you know that John Peter Zenger was the printer who won the 1735 court case establishing freedom of the press. 

Recent Articles

Saving the Free Press From Private Equity

Navigating the digital transition is a huge challenge for newspapers. Absentee ownership by private equity predators makes it all but impossible.

This article appears in the Winter 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . There is a standard story about the death of newspapers. After decades of enjoying easy profits from print ad income, publishers were blindsided by the internet revolution. Free information on the web cut into their core audience, especially among the young. The expenses of paper, printing, and delivery—“trucks and trees”—made them increasingly uncompetitive in a digital age. Publishers were slow to adjust. By the time owners figured out how to monetize web content, Google and Facebook had gotten there first, and were taking an estimated 80 percent of digital ad revenues. The crash of 2008 only hastened the decline. A few national newspapers with unique franchises— The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal , and The Washington Post —have begun to figure out the digital transition, using paywalls, new digital content, and complementary business...