Lacey & Larkin: From Dropping Out of College to Building a Media Empire, all by Way of the First Amendment

Merely weeks before being sentenced after the conviction of a 2007 racial-profiling case, Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff, had a presidential pardon approved by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton. The ruling brings to a close the most recent developments in a narrative decades in the making. Read more:  Michael Lacey | Twitter and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia

From deaths by beatings, to suicides, to illegally reallocating over $100 million in jail funds, to sex crimes, to harassing Latinos, the six-term, 24 year Arpaio administration, among other things, was marred by scandal. Every step of the way, however, was closely followed and reported by two newspapermen who became an inconvenience so considerable, that the sheriff had them arrested in October 2007.

At first, the reactions from the sheriff’s office were limited to not allowing access to press conferences, ignoring requests for county records and threatening arrest. But such a constant thorn in his side were these two individuals, that on October 18, 2007, they were both cuffed and dragged away from their homes by detectives in plain clothes and unmarked vehicles with Mexican plates.

The wide-spread reaction to the arrests came fast and was intense. Stories appeared in a number of newspapers, and the outrage forced Maricopa County’s attorney and ally of Joe Arpaio to announce in a press conference that the arrests were not proper and declared the case closed.

The two newspapermen are Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, two Arizona State University dropouts, who, over 40 years have turned a campus newspapers into a media empire. This empire includes Phoenix New Times, the newspaper which reported on Arpaio’s misdeeds.

As for Donald Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, Lacey opines that it proves how foolish the President is and that it represents the marriage two corrupt individuals. Arpaio, being a skilled reader of political shifts, endorsed Donald Trump at a time when the notion of his nomination was being mocked. This move came with a great payoff, a presidential pardon.

Jim Larkin, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, partnered up with Michael Lacey in 1972 after having dropped out of his Alma Matter. Their association was to lead the Phoenix New Times, a free publication which came into existence thanks to the ultra-conservative coverage of antiwar protests by students that the local media had carried out.

Lacey assumed the role of executive editor and Larkin lead all aspects related to advertising. With the pair at the helm, the newspaper garnered an ever growing audience as it explored various issues in the social and political arenas, and became a prominent entity among the different alternative newspapers that were on the rise.

Just over a decade later, in 1983, the Phoenix News Times made a move that initiated an expansion that would help it become a massive coast to coast newspaper conglomerate. The move was the purchase of Westword, a weekly publication from Denver, Colorado, which focused on news and arts.

As time passed, and with a strong commitment to freedom of expression, the company procured a reputation for investigative journalism, magazine-style writing and classy coverage of culture related topics.

Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/ and https://twitter.com/JimLarkin_

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *