Sharon R. Bolton recently solidified President Donald Trump’s decision to pardon Maricopa County’s former Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. The controversial Sheriff made headlines for a number of violations against the rights of Maricopa County’s minority community – a trend that Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey covered extensively during their time as the heads of New Times Media.
The prominent newspapermen engaged in a longstanding beef with the former sheriff which eventually resulted in their false arrest. While the charges were dropped almost immediately, it resulted in a three-year court battle with Larkin and Lacey eventually coming out victorious. They were awarded a $3.75 million settlement that they used to begin the Frontera Fund.
1970 marked the beginning a shift in culture regarding the climate of America, as well as the traditional news outlet. On college campuses and major cities across the United States, tensions began to mount, causing a myriad of protests from the anti-war crowd, as well as the rise of self-published alternative newspapers. Read more: Jim Larkin | LinkedIn and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
After the Kent State Killings, which resulted in 13 students either dead or severely injured, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were moved to create a voice that reflected the feelings of the people, without the conservative spin often placed on the events of the time.
Later that year, Michael Lacey, who had already dropped out from Arizona State University, joined by Frank Fiore, Karen Lofgren, Nick Stupey, and Hal Smith, published the inaugural issue of Phoenix New Times, to immediate acclaim amongst the anti-war crowd.
With Michael Lacey heading the editorial processes of Phoenix New Times, and Jim Larkin, who joined two years later in 1972, heading the marketing, the publication saw significant growth throughout the decade. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/ and http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey
In a short time, major corporations such as J.C. Penny began using the budding newspaper to publish full-page ads. Covering a variety of political and social issues, the Phoenix New Times began seeing exponential growth, particularly with the implementation of the satirical cartoons of Bob Boze, as well as the addition of personals columns.
In 1983, the New Times brand would experience the biggest jump of its decade-plus existence, acquiring the Denver, Colorado-based publication, Westword. Created by Patricia Calhoun, Westword began seeing a decline since its initially successful run but saw a swift rise back to prominence under the watch of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey.
This acquisition would eventually lead to New Time Media’s purchase of 17 additional like-minded publications, including Miami New Times, LA Weekly, OC Weekly, Nashville Scene, and the originator of alternative news, the New York-based, Village Voice.
Through its continued dedication to First Amendment rights, as well as its narrative journalism, New Times Media would garner a myriad of awards over the next four decades, including the Pulitzer Prize in 2007.
In 2013, having decided to step away from the brand they’d built from the ground up, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey sold the company, in order to focus on other ventures, such as the Frontera Fund.
They recently returned to narrative journalism with the launch of FrontPage Confidential, which continues the traditions created with New Times Media decades earlier.