While Sharon R. Bolton’s ruling regarding the pardoning of Joe Arpaio, former Maricopa County Sheriff, by President Donald Trump came as no surprise, it was met by significant opposition from the citizens he once terrorized, most notably, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. The former sheriff made national headlines due to his widely publicized crimes and violations, including the implementation of “tent city” – the jail, which he famously regarded as his own “concentration camp.” Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Michael Lacey | LinkedIn
The longstanding feud between the ex-sheriff and the newspapermen began almost from the day he was elected in 1992, culminating in years of mutual disdain that eventually came to a climax with Larkin and Lacey’s arrest at their homes ten years ago. Although promptly dismissed, the unlawful arrest resulted in a three-year battle in court, with Larkin and Lacey coming out victorious.
In 1970, as the United States experienced an inner turmoil that had not been seen since The Great Depression, protests regarding the Vietnam War, and a number of other economic and political issues resulted in unprecedented push-back by the citizens of America.
As traditional news outlets continued to focus on covering the events of the time with an uber-conservative lens, the need for an alternative voice was greater than ever, resulting in an estimated 500 underground newspapers.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, staunch supporters of the anti-war movement, had already dropped out of college at Arizona State University, and in response to the Kent State Killings, decided to dive into the fight.
Along with students Frank Fiore, Karen Lofgren, Nick Stupey, and Hal Smith, Michael Lacey, kicked off the first issue of the Phoenix New Times. With Michael Lacey acting as editor, overseeing the content produced by the Phoenix New Times, Jim Larkin, who would join the group two years later in 1972, handled the marketing aspects.
Larkin, who was already married with children, implemented a practical approach to the business of the New Times brand, helping to secure the support of several established organizations, including J.C. Penny, who was the first to take out full-page ads in the publication.
Over the next few years, the Phoenix New Times saw an exponential jump in readership through the addition of satirical cartoons, such as Bob Boze Bell’s “Honkey Tonk Sue,” as well as the coverage of alternative cultural staples, such as rock music, which at the time had been largely ignored by the mainstream.
1983 would mark the rise of New Times Media, beginning with the purchase of Westword – a Denver-based news-and-arts weekly publication that had begun experiencing a series of downturns under Patricia Calhoun. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737 and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/relevant-links/
This move would lead to the purchase of 17 additional publications throughout the United States, including OC Weekly, LA Weekly, Nashville Scene, Miami New Times, and the most prominent of them all, New York City’s own, Village Voice.
These acquisitions would give New Times Media a strong presence in every major market across the United States, leading to a four-decade run atop the alternative news market, as well as a myriad of accolades and awards, most notably the Pulitzer Prize in 2007.