Recently, at the behest of President of the United States, Donald Trump, United States District Judge, Sharon R. Bolton made good on the pardoning of Maricopa County’s former Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.
While the decision was not exactly a surprise to those who’ve followed the many sagas of Joe Arpaio, the decision was met with outrage by the citizens that Joe Arpaio violated for so long, particularly his longtime foes, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. Michael Lacey recently took to the media, citing Donald Trump’s relationship with “Sheriff Joe” as “the perfect marriage of two corrupt individuals.”
This comes as no surprise as the notorious feud between Joe Arpaio and the former heads of New Times Media, came to a head ten years ago when he had his deputies roust them from their homes and unlawfully arrested. While the charges were dropped in less than 24 hours, a three-year court battle ensued which resulted in Larkin and Lacey being awarded a $3.75 million settlement.
The turmoil resulting from the United State’s involvement in the Vietnam War, as well as the Kent State shootings, which resulted in the death of four students at the hands of Ohio National Guardsmen, was the seed that sparked Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, staunch anti-war supporters, to becoming involved with the launch of Phoenix New Times in 1970.
Alongside a dedicated team, which included Karen Lofgren, Frank Fiore, Nick Stupey, and Hal Smith, Michael Lacey, who had already dropped out of Arizona State University, gave rise to the alternative newspaper, generating significant acclaim.
Jim Larkin would join Phoenix New Times two years later, covering the business and marketing aspects of the brand, while Michael Lacey oversaw operations in an editorial capacity. At the time, there was estimated to be around 500 underground newspapers in circulation around the United States – all offshoots of the originator, New York’s Village Voice.
Covering a wide range of social and political events, both national and local, Phoenix New Times quickly garnered the attention of several notable organizations, in particular, J.C. Penny, who took out several full-page advertisements, quickly boosting their stock within the alternatives community.
In 1983, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey would make the most significant leap of their careers with the acquisition of Westword – a news-and-arts weekly created by Patricia Calhoun that serviced the Denver, Colorado area. This move eventually led to the purchase of 17 additional publications with similar missions, allowing the voices of Larkin and Lacey to reach coast to coast in America.
Sticking to their signature style of narrative journalism, the publications under the New Times Media brand would go on to garner a myriad of awards and accolades, including earning a Pulitzer Prize in 2007.
After a four-decade run of dominance amongst the alternative newspaper community, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey said goodbye to the publication that they’d dedicated their lives to, choosing to focus on The Frontera Fund, as well as their newest iteration in online media, FrontPage Confidential.