Larkin and Lacey: Co-Founders of Village Voice Media

Michael Lacey is the Lacey in the famous Larkin and Lacey. Michael Lacey grew up in Newark, NJ and lived on the east coast until he moved west in the late 60s. He moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University but dropped out shortly after arriving. Read more: Jim Larkin | LinkedIn and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia

Once Lacey made it to Arizona State, antiwar protests started happening on a regular basis. He and some students joined up and published the inaugural issue of Phoenix New Times. Phoenix New Times would be the newspaper that drastically changed his life. It’s the reason he dropped out of school.

A few years after starting the paper, another college dropout joined the team; Jim Larkin. Jim Larkin took over New Times’ advertising while Lacey served as executive editor. As a response to the ultra-conservative media of that time, New Times became very popular amongst everyone else in Arizona.

Their little weekly newspaper soon became a regional success. With such prominence in the community, Lacey and Larkin began expanding their reach. This was also an opportunity to expand beyond just social and political issues. People can’t be bombarded with politics all the time; it wears people down.

By the mid-80s, Lacey and Larkin established Village Voice Media, a multimillion-dollar media conglomerate consisting of 17 like-minded newspapers. They acquired popular papers such as LA Weekly, Miami New Times, and Village Voice, a paper from New York City from which Village Voice Media Holdings derives its name.

Over the next two decades, VVM and Phoenix New Times were Lacey and Larkin’s children. VVM took precedence over New Times until New Times began writing about a local sheriff. Sheriff Joe Arpaio played a big role in the later years of Lacey and Larkin’s lives. He’s the reason they established the Frontera Fund.

VVM has one of the highest reputations in the industry. There’s no company better at long-term investigative reporting. They even have a sophisticated, magazine-style approach when it comes to writing about music, food, film, and arts. The company’s won hundreds of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize numerous times.

In 2012, Lacey and Larkin decided to sell Village Voice Media. The lucky new owners happen to be longtime executives of the company. They trust that they’ll maintain the company’s high standards while they focus on overseeing the Frontera Fund.