Michael Lacey and John Larkin co-founded the Phoenix New Times in 1970. Dropouts of Arizona State University, the two created the alternative news source in response to the current conservative media on campus.
It was a time of war and unrest, people were protesting Vietnam, and the first amendment gained more traction than ever. Years later, they are still the voice of unrest speaking out against establishment.
The New Times is just one of many alternative newsweeklies that span the breadth of the U.S. It remains a free paper, paid for by numerous advertisements, committed to the sanctity of the First Amendment. Lacey started the paper and joined forces with Larkin in 1972.
Larkin served as the head of advertising before moving into the role of CEO. His ability as a businessman not only kept the rag afloat, but led to its acquisition of Westword in 1983. Westword was Denver’s version of the New Times, and the duo’s expansion to two weeklies soon turned into a multi-million dollar conglomerate of 17. The conglomerate, which they named Village Voice Media Holdings, was sold to fellow executives back in 2012.
Under Lacey’s leadership as editor, the Phoenix New Times tackled many social issues. Eventually the duo’s stewardship of the paper ran parallel to the six terms of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Read more: Jim Larkin | Angel.co and Jim Larkin | LinkedIn
Arpaio’s tenure as Sheriff is one of much controversy, repeatedly called on the carpet for scandalous things. His most significant lowlights are; botched investigations, poor treatment of inmates, diversion of $100 million dollars in prison funds, and his questionable treatment of the Latino community in the wake of illegal immigration.
Lacey and Larkin used the New Times to hound Arpaio, exposing many scandals, and calling out corruption. They became advocates of the Latin community, giving them a voice. Their constant criticism of Arpaio even led to the duo’s arrest in 2007.
Following a story in the Phoenix New Times that disclosed the contents of a subpoena targeting the paper, which threatened prosecution should said contents be revealed, the co-founders were arrested. They were freed 24-hours later. In 2013 the duo received a settlement of $3.75 million dollars from Maricopa County, whom they sued for wrongful imprisonment. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/new-times-founders-helping-fund-latino-program-at-asu-journalism-school-6661821
In 2014, they created a fund to assist the Latin community in Arizona. The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund distributes the money from their settlement. It is a crowning achievement in the saga of their fued with Joe Arpaio. A saga that now has a new chapter.
In 2017, Joe Arpaio received a pardon from President Donald Trump. The move, that many see as political pandering, was long expected and none too surprising.
Lacey and Larkin were on hand to provide their opinions, calling the move an act of corruption, a misuse of power, and a failure of the system. The duo are set to return to the world of journalism with website called Front Page Confidential. Together they plan to make Arpaio, and Trump rue this decision.