Yo! Venice – From The President Of Mirror Media Group


By TJ Montemer/Mirror Media Group President

What’s up Venice residents and readers? A year ago Thursday, Bret Haller, the founder of Yo!, moved on from this life to the next – a very sad time for Venice and the community.

When I acquired Yo! Venice from Bret’s brother Eric in August 2014, I knew that Yo! Venice was a solid asset, however, I didn’t realize how truly special and unique it was – and not because of the site – but because of the community it served, Venice.

I remember Bret coming into my office one day just for a meet and greet since we were both media people in the same area. I still remember him telling me about his passion for Yo! Venice and how Venice had really embraced his site. That was in 2011 – you could just tell that Bret was totally stoked on this thing – it wasn’t just his job or hobby – it was his passion.

I politely smiled and said, “Yes, seems like a really cool site.” Back then I never gave it much thought, as I hadn’t ever experienced it as a publisher or a reader.

Now that I’ve been fortunate enough to acquire Yo! Venice and be in the driver seat since last summer – I understand what he said to me a few years back more than ever.

Mirror Media Group owns multiple local media assets in the Westside of Los Angeles – the Santa Monica Mirror is our stronghold. However, the community of Venice, the people that make it unique, and the issues that are present in the 90291 fueled with the passion that Venetians have is something unparalleled in other communities that Mirror Media Group has the opportunity to serve.

I noticed this immediately when my team and I took over and we got called out by a few people for not knowing the recent history of Venice from RV dumping to the homelessness issues – I knew immediately that the Venice community and Yo! Venice was a completely different beast.

So, hopefully if you are a consistent reader on yovenice.com you will see that we have made improvements by hiring a local, Melanie Camp, who is helping us bring yovenice.com back to life with a local voice and yes, printing a bi-weekly newspaper called, Yo! Venice.

Why a newspaper you ask? In 2015 when digital is taking over our world and hurting metro newspapers everywhere – why be insane and go from web to print? Please note, I’m 30 years old so a baby by standards to most folks in my business.

The answer is simple, local media is the most important media to all of us. As the world gets more digital and information becomes more abundant and immediate – the need for niche information becomes more important then ever. We are living in an interesting time – where the world gets bigger yet our interests become more specific.

Print is still a major revenue component for marketing. Yes, digital is growing, and yes, digital is awesome, but print still takes on a significant percentage of the overall advertising spend in the U.S. – even in 2015.

But more importantly, not having a print asset within a local media company is like buying a Ferrari and leaving it in third gear. You just don’t do it, you find an open road and you take it to 200 mph – and hope you don’t get pulled over.

To be successful, to keep growing, to be the best media asset we can be for the community of Venice – Mirror Media Group needs to unleash all of its assets – and print is one of the missing assets to this equation. The other is video, which Mirror Media Group does a whole lot of in Santa Monica and elsewhere – Venetians will start seeing a whole lot more video on yovenice.com than ever before. So with the advance of the most traditional media, we will also bring to the game new media.

We appreciates your support – we appreciate our readers, our advertisers who make this mission possible – I personally appreciate the opportunity to do what I do, I absolutely love it – I really do.

Please let us know what’s on your mind (email me at [email protected]), please tell us if you think we can do better, tell us we are great – whatever – just stay informed and keep reading, watching, learning, and living.

All my best to you, Venice, and here is to a great future!