Over ten years ago, the longstanding beef between Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the minds behind the nationally recognized New Times brand, and the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, came to a boiling point when they were arrested at their homes on spurious charges.
As the pardon granted by President Donald Trump was recently made official by U.S. District Judge Sharon R. Bolton, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey decided to speak out, relaying their dissatisfaction with the ruling. While expressing his contempt, Michael Lacey also detailed a number of crimes committed by Joe Arpaio, which included his involvement with “tent city,” and a multitude of mysterious inmate deaths, that ultimately went unpunished.
Although Joe Arpaio’s pardon was the subject of much speculation, it was widely argued that the 85-year old former sheriff would not have spent any time any prison had President Trump not stepped in.
1970 proved to be a life-altering year for Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. At the time, they were recent dropouts of Arizona State University and had decided to strike out on their own with the creation of the free newspaper weekly, Phoenix New Times.
The development of the Phoenix New Times came in response to the Kent State Killings, as well as the conservative approach that news outlets were taking in regards to the on-campus protesting of the war in Vietnam. As the Phoenix New Times began to take off, Michael Lacey took the position of Executive Editor, while Jim Larkin placed his focus on handling the business aspects of the company.
At the time, the nation was experiencing a myriad of rapid cultural changes, and because of this, there was growing demand for news coverage that provided an alternative perspective on the issues facing society. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey realized that there was tremendous opportunity to capitalize, and their weekly newsprint quickly began to gain traction.
By the early part of the next decade, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey had begun upping the ante regarding their investment in the New Times brand by acquiring Westword – a new-and-arts weekly that serviced the Denver, CO area. This move would lead them to acquire 17 additional publications, including LA Weekly, Miami New Times, and Village Voice, that allowed their alternative take on news media to reach coast to coast in the United States.
The New Times brand continued to grow exponentially over the years, eventually acquiring a readership exceeding 60 million subscribers each month. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Michael Lacey | LinkedIn
It was in early 2013 that Larkin and Lacey decided to step away from their massive empire, selling their stakes in the company to a group of executives that had been with them for quite some time.
Due to Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey’s staunch commitment to maintaining the First Amendment rights of the people, as well as their unparalleled investigative journaling, the publications associated with New Times have received a myriad of awards and honors.
Today, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are actively involved in the Frontera Fund, and recently launched the news outlet, Front Page Confidential.
Learn more about James Larkin and Michael Lacey:
Lacey And Larkin: Founders Of The Frontera Fund And Front Page Confidential.
Former Arizona State University students Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are journalists, publishers and champions of free speech. In the early 1970s the men worked together to popularize the liberal ASU campus newspaper the Phoenix New Times. The publication offered articles dealing with antiwar protests and a range of other political and social issues. With Lacey serving as executive editor while Larkin handled advertising, circulation of the free weekly publication grew steadily.
Within a few years, the publication was among the nation’s most prominent alternative newspapers. The Phoenix New Times bought the Denver-based news and arts weekly, Westword, in 1983 and become part of the multimillion-dollar conglomerate Village Voice Media Holdings that had 17 alternative newspapers including the Miami New Times, the LA Weekly and New York City’s the Village Voice.
Through the Phoenix New Times Lacey and Larkin emerged as major voices on issues related to worker, migrant and civil rights. This drew the ire of Maricopa County, Arizona’s anti-immigrant sheriff Joe Arpaio. When the newspaper revealed there was an attempt to subpoena its writers, editors and readers, Sheriff Arpaio had Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin arrested illegally in October 2007. Lacey and Larkin sued Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County for violating their First Amendment rights and were awarded $3.75 million.
The journalists used the money to start the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund which helps migrant workers and people in Arizona whose civil rights are being violated. Larkin and Lacey also started the website Front Page Confidential. Edited by Tom Finkel, the site focuses on news, historical perspectives and commentary on free speech related matters. By 2012, Village Voice Media Holdings had almost 9 million monthly print readers and 56 million online viewers each month. The company has won the Pulitzer Prize and hundreds of other journalistic honors.