If you were able to control a foundation with $1 billion in assets, and your goal was to promote a more diverse array of public-spirited media, what tools might you use to achieve that end? And which might be most effective?
- Grants at 5% a year of corpus to start up alternative media
- Buying stock in big media companies and voting the proxies
- Selling stock in big media companies and shunning them
- Studies that might influence regulatory policy
- Lobbying (within legal limits) regulatory officials
- Honors and prizes for good reporting
- Funding education for journalists
- Investing corpus itself via loan and equity in alternative media.
Lucy Greenholz, Tracy Gary, and Albert Ruesga, to name three people, have professional expertise in issues like this. I do not. My background is more in personal finance. But as a citizen, I am intensely interested in how we can revive an open society in an age of media concentration, marketing, and mass propaganda. Of the options above, the one that seems most powerful to me (as a concerned citizen) is #5. A billion invested in loans and equity into internet start up media might change the game. Buying or selling Viacom, say, or ClearChannel, by contrast seems pretty trivial, or ameliorative at best.