Journalism That Matters notes that Arthur S. Hayes of Fordham University has uncovered an essay published in 1916 that suggests newspapers should be owned by foundations in order to limit the pressures of investor ownership.
More than 90 years ago, Victor Yarros wrote:
We have various "foundations" for education, for research, for progressive philanthropy, for certain social and industrial reforms. They are indispensable. We know that higher arts, the higher music, could not exist without liberal endowment. Is it not sufficiently clear that sound, clean, and dignified journalism cannot hope to take root, to establish itself in modern cities, without at least temporary endowment . . . .
Media Giraffe has the full report.
The New London (Conn.) Day and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times have foundation owners, as I recall, but I don't know of any others. The Bodenwein Public Benevolent Foundation has the Day; the Poynter Institute is behind the Times.