The names Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are synonymous with fighting against injustice. They were the first media executives to openly challenge Arizona’s ultra-conservative views and win. Since the early 70s, Lacey and Larkin have owned one of the most respected investigative newspapers in the country.
Phoenix New Times, founded in the early 70s, began on the Arizona State University’s campus. Lacey, recently moved from New Jersey, wanted to give Arizona natives a news source that wasn’t steeped in conservative overtones. As New Times grew in popularity, Larkin joined the team and handled advertising and marketing.
Over the decades, they built a multimillion-dollar conglomerate, Village Voice Media, made up of 17 like-minded newspapers. As their success blossomed, they never forgot the importance of investigative reporting. That’s how Phoenix New Times got into a heated personal and legal battle with former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s synonymous with racism and corruption. It’s no secret that Arizona’s had its problems dealing with diversity and equality. What might be surprising is the patriarchal role Joe Arpaio played in fostering much of the fear-mongering. He’s since become one of the worst sheriffs to ever wear a badge.
Their battle with Arpaio was one of the biggest stories in the nation at one time. Now, people just think about Arpaio being back on the streets. He’s no longer wearing a badge, but that’s not even remotely the point. He viciously abused his power and hundreds of Latinos over the years he served. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/relevant-links/ and http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/new-times-founders-helping-fund-latino-program-at-asu-journalism-school-6661821
When Lacey and Larkin brought him down, they hoped it would send a message to all those like Arpaio. After repeatedly reporting on Arpaio’s activities, Arpaio finally had them arrested. The arrest was in no way legal or lawful, but that wasn’t his focus.
He wanted to shut Lacey, Larkin, and their paper up. He used forged grand jury subpoenas to try to force them into telling him the names of their readers. He wanted all of their workers’ personal information and any notes pertaining to his activities.
Obviously, he got none of those things, and he was stripped of his badge. He also faced criminal charges and was convicted. Before his sentencing, President Trump pardoned him. All of Lacey and Larkin’s hard work flushed down the drain by an idiot. If though they won the battle, Trump screwed everything up.