It seems the least likely of people make the best heroes. There are a lot of famous people who dropped out of college and became celebrities, but few of them became famous because they did something extraordinary. That’s the kind of men that Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin became.
Both are college dropouts who teamed up and co-founded Phoenix New Times, a local newspaper. The first paper that either of them published was a paper about the ultra-conservative portrayal of on-campus antiwar protests. Lacey wrote the paper with a few friends and Larkin eventually joined the team when the paper needed an advertising expert.
It didn’t take long for Phoenix New Times to earn itself a name in the industry. Eventually, the two executives co-founded another media company; Village Voice Media. That started VVM after purchasing a like-minded newspaper in Denver. That’s when they began building what is now a multimillion-dollar conglomerate. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
Over the years, their success never stopped. Their companies won numerous awards and recognition. In 2012, they sold VVM to some long-time executives and focused on their philanthropies.
Their major philanthropies include human rights and freedom of speech. Being reporters, working in ultra-conservative regions, they’ve learned the importance of freedom and equality.
Their support of migrant rights and civic participation really sparked during the late 2000s. That’s when they clashed with a local sheriff, who’d been tormenting local Latinos for his own enjoyment. Despite being a man of the law, Sheriff Joe Arpaio often participated in anti-Mexican rallies and fear-mongering.
New Times could not allow a law enforcement officer to behave the way Arpaio did and not write about him. The attention New Times gave Arpaio enraged the sheriff. Over the next few weeks, they wrote more stories, detailing many of his atrocious activities and side jobs.
There are plenty of things that Arpaio did that are unforgivable. What he did to Lacey and Larkin on October 18, 2007, ended his career.
Enraged by their paper’s consisting investigating, he had them illegally arrested and taken to jail in the middle of the night.
The most shocking part about their arrests is what happened after they arrived at separate jails. Arpaio tried to use grand jury subpoenas to force them to give up the names and personal information of their employees and even their readers.