Big Man at the Top  | American Journalism Review
From AJR,   November 1998

Big Man at the Top   

Michael Lacey

  • Executive editor, New Times Inc., a chain of 10 weekly alternative papers

  • Oversees papers' editorial content, seeks cities for new New Times ventures, writes columns and extended news pieces for the papers a half-dozen times a year

  • Grew up in Newark, New Jersey; attended Arizona State University; dropped out to found the predecessor of New Times Phoenix in 1970

  • Married, one son; lives in Malibu, California

  • Lacey on Lacey: ``I am constantly being force-fed some quote that I started the paper because what the hell, I wanted to punch somebody in the head. It was the antiwar impetus that began all of this. But by dumb luck, dumb Irish luck, I stumbled into something that allowed me to vent all of that anger and curiosity and feeling that there wasn't a square deal for people."

  • Lacey on management: ``If you're the editor [of a New Times paper], it's a complete principality that you rule. I set the level of expectation out there, and I give them all the money they can spend.... We are constantly trying to add people, to find better people. We have budgets, but we don't have budgets."

  • Lacey on being successful and alternative: ``If they think making money is bad, then I'm gonna burn in hell. It allows us to do better journalism. It allows our reporters to raise their families. The fact is we weren't as good when we didn't have the resources to do what we do."