Michael Lacy spent his teenage years in Newark, New Jersey. His father was a construction worker and encouraged his son to go to college. Michael attended Arizona State University in the late 1960’s but dropped out in 1970 without earning his bachelor’s degree. Instead of attending college he had decided to start a newspaper, Phoenix New Times, along with two other students.
The idea for this publication came about because the city’s newspapers were very conservative and he found their coverage of anti-war protests on the campus of Arizona State University to be highly biased. Read more: Mike Lacey | Crunchbase
Serving as the Executive Editor of Phoenix New Times, Michael Lacy quickly grew the circulation of the newspaper which was provided for free. Helping him was his business partner, Jim Larkin, who handled the advertising side of the business. They and the rest of the staff developed a reputation for covering a number of different political and social causes from a completely different angle than the established conservative newspapers in the area.
Continuing to grow, New Times bought another alternative newspaper in 1983, Westword which was published in Denver, Colorado. Today there are 17 alternative newspapers in the company spread out across the United States. This includes the very well-known Voice in New York City as well as the Miami New Times and LA Weekly.
On October 18, 2007, both Lacey and Larkin were targeted by police in the middle of the night and had their homes raided by police officers under the direction of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They were both thrown in jail as Arpaio wanted to get hold of their reporter notes for a grand jury that was investigating him.
The resulting grand jury subpoenas targeted all of the writers at New Times as well as the editors. Even more alarming it targeted everyone who had read the alternative paper online which was a clearly unconstitutional.
After being released, both Larkin and Lacey sued the county. The won on appeal and were awarded $3.75 million in 2013. Rather than keeping this money, they established the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund. They use this money to support causes that are important to Latin-American communities in Arizona.
This includes immigration issues, health, education, and other socially important causes.
Larkin and Lacey sold their alternative newspaper company in 2012 to another group of like-minded executives. They have almost 9 million print readers and over 56 million online viewers every month.
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