Newark native, Michael Lacey has long been recognized as one of the most transformative entrepreneurs in the media industry. Mr. Lacey moved to Arizona in the 1960’s for his university education at Arizona State University.
During his tentative years as an undergraduate student, he noticed that there was a niche in the local media industry. Together with other like-minded students, he published the pioneering production of the Phoenix New Times.
The newspaper was a rejoinder to the old-fashioned approach that local media took when covering campus antiwar protests. With Mr. Lacey and his partner Jim Larkin at the helm, Phoenix New Times gained immense popularity. Read more: Mike Lacey | Crunchbase
The feisty weekly publication’s circulation grew remarkably since it focused on exploring political and social issues that were gaining popularity amongst America’s growing roster of unconventional newspapers.
Forays into Mainstream Media
In 1983, Larkin and Lacey purchased Westwood, a leading Denver news and arts weekly magazine. This heralded an ambitious expansion strategy that would morph into a conglomerate of 17 likeminded newspapers and magazines including the Miami New Times, The Village Voice, and the LA Weekly.
In 2007, Lacey and his business partner were wrongfully arrested for publishing an article in the Phoenix New Times about grand jury subpoenas that targeted the papers editors and writers. Following a nationwide public outcry, all charges were dropped and the subpoenas quashed.
Subsequent investigations established that the arrest warrants were counterfeit and that they had been issued by a bitter prosecutor who disregarded legal safeguards. Lacey and Larkin sued and were consequently awarded 3.75 million dollars in damages.
To create public awareness about human rights, the two established the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Award. This fund mainly benefits Latin-American groups operating in Arizona. Its founders have gained popularity for their steadfast dedication to the First Amendment.
Thanks to Lacey’s efforts, all media outlets under the Village Voice Media Holdings conglomerate have gained an enviable reputation for magazine-style feature writing, sophisticated coverage of current affairs, and long-form investigative reporting.
As of 2012, the conglomerate was reaching up to nine million print readers on a monthly basis and more than 56 million online viewers. In addition, it had garnered numerous journalistic honors for its fearless reporting including the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.
Besides his corporate duties, Lacey is still actively involved in activism. He proactively advocates for immigrant rights, human rights, and civil rights throughout Arizona. He has helped raise funds for The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project among other nonprofit human rights organizations.
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