Phoenix native Jim Larkin had dropped out of Arizona State University when, in 1972, he teamed up with Michael Lacey to helm Phoenix New Times, a fledgling campus weekly that had come into existence as a response to the ultra-conservative local media’s coverage of student antiwar protests.

With Lacey as executive editor and Larkin heading up the advertising side, the feisty, free paper grew its audience while exploring a variety of social and political issues and gaining prominence among the nation’s growing roster of alternative newspapers.

In 1983, New Times purchased Westword, Denver’s news-and-arts weekly, commencing an expansion that ultimately would embrace a multimillion-dollar conglomerate of 17 like-minded papers from coast to coast, including the LA Weekly, Miami New Times, and the granddaddy of all alternatives, the Village Voice in New York City.

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