Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey

Jim Larkin dropped out of Arizona State in 1972. he decided that he had a more important calling in his life and decided to follow it. He joined forces with Michael Lacey and together they founded the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund. But, they would have to first endure many trials and tribulations to reach their goals. Their first project together was the foundation of a newspaper called the Phoenix New Times.

Their paper espoused problems within the local area of Arizona. Politics, Law enforcement, economics, and residential life were all subjects of discussion in the newspaper. It was the formation of a true medium of journalism. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey believed in the power of journalism. Read more: Jim Larkin | and Michael Lacey | Twitter

Michael Lacey was the original editor of the newspaper. Jim Larkin was in charge of advertising. The paper was feisty and fierce. They discussed every topic they could get their hands on and no story was off limits. The concept of a free press was their number one priority. Many students were interested in the antiwar message the paper was portraying at the time. Because many students were against the controversial war. Very soon, the paper grew to become one of America’s most popular alternative newspapers. The liberated thinkers loved the idea of a small press tackling big issues.

In 1983, New Times purchased Westwood. This was a weekly publication of news and art. It served to provide a wider audience and diverse material for printing. The move signaled a massive expansion in the newspaper that would be rivaled by no other.

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin continued to expand their operations and purchased other small newspapers. Their empire grew to include LA Weekly and the highly popular Village Voice Media.

Their advancement in growth and willingness to attack politics earned them a few enemies. In 2007 the two were arrested in Maricopa County by local deputes. They had been reporting on an investigation launched by the county sheriff.

He instructed a grand jury to investigate the two journalists because the two had a history of reporting on his illicit and illegal behavior. Sheriff Arpaio had a history of discriminating against Hispanics and Latinos.

He used his power to place them in jail and have them deported. Oftentimes he instructed his deputes to racially profile them in order to force them to prove their documentation. His actions were reported in Larkin and Lacey’s paper and the sheriff wanted to bring an end to it.

Ultimately, it was found that the investigation was a gross infringement on the journalists’ rights. They were set free and rewarded a large settlement with the county. That settlement was the seed money for the Frontera Fund.

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