The Messenger Mountain News Has Arrived!

Hearing the dismay at the demise of the Topanga Messenger, which diligently served Topanga for 40 years, the notion of Topanga without a newspaper was unacceptable.

When that happened, what else was there to do but replace it? As soon as possible. The news spread, the community shook off its grief and stepped up. That’s the spirit that made it possible for us, Bonnie Morgan and Flavia Potenza, to set an ambitious goal to create a new business, a new newspaper and bring it to everyone in the canyon. As soon as possible.

As it was, the Topanga Messenger was not sustainable. With a new business model, the Messenger Mountain News will be delivered free to every home, business and P.O. box in Topanga. What will sustain it is our advertising base inside and outside the canyon, wherever we go for services that support our mountain lifestyle.

Everything about MMN seemed too ambitious, but with the overwhelming support of canyon businesses to advertise, advisors who guided us with wisdom and shared experience, and a multi-talented production and editorial team that set goals and never looked back, you now hold in your hands the inaugural edition of the Messenger
Mountain News.

Our main objective is that this publication will remain sustainable for generations of Topangans to come. We are unabashedly integrating modern technology to expand our reach to those who prefer to read it online, in print, or both. Our art direction has pushed its boundaries to blend traditional newspaper style content with upscale magazine design. It’s a grand experiment, a work in progress that we trust will please and
engage you.

This has been an experience reminiscent of 1976, when a group of newcomers looked around and asked, “Why isn’t there a newspaper here?” The enthusiasm and energy that brought the canyon together was unparalleled and the result lasted for 40 years and 1,000 issues that never arrived late despite fire, flood or earthquake.

For that, we have Mary Colvig Rhodes to thank. With publisher Ian Brodie, she was the one constant for all that time who held the Topanga Messenger together. With the passing of Brodie, she shouldered the task on her own and recognized when it was time to let it go.

Now, when you read the Messenger Mountain News, remember whose shoulders we stand on and the spirit we carry forward.

We are experiencing a time when the press is being maligned in a blatant effort to suppress its responsibility to speak truth to power. It’s not new but it makes it hard to do our job. Recognize that your voice is not only welcome here but necessary to preserve freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble. Thus, the tag line in our masthead:
“First Amendment Forever!”


Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petitions Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; of abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Flavia Potenza, Editor-in-Chief, and Bonnie Morgan, Chief Operating and Financial Officer have launched a newspaper for Topanga and surrounding communities. Photo by Tony Verebes.


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