COMMENTARY: Your reading habits helped us decide to reduce print editions

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Your copies of The Monitor, Valley Morning Star and The Brownsville Herald today are noticeably larger. They contain multiple sections you’d normally see in Sunday’s edition because, beginning today there will be no more Sunday editions. That means our sports and feature sections, our classifieds and comics and puzzles, are all found inside what will now be a weekend edition delivered on Saturdays. That also means that for the first time in our generation, there will be no Sunday newspaper on your doorstep, in racks, or at the nearby store.

This is one of the many changes you’ll notice as a result of our decision to reduce print editions from seven days a week to two, and believe me, we’ve been ready for the onslaught of pitchforks.

Since the announcement was made, we’ve heard from many of you who don’t like the change.

There is important perspective to consider with regard to the logic behind what we’re doing, and it’s equally important to address it by doing a very simple task for me: Pick up today’s paper.

Really feel it. It has more heft to it, doesn’t it?

Remember, however, that whatever bulk you feel is unlike the newspapers of yesteryear. My newspapers. I remember those papers having girth. In print’s heyday, I could flip through the news and sports, make my way to the comics and crossword, and fail each time to reassemble the paper because they were larger, wider and fuller than what we have today. Like when I tried to put one of those old school road maps back together, I would just end up creating new creases and fold up the mangled mess. Everything’s simply smaller nowadays, whether for cost-effectiveness or for convenience.

But I also know that the great majority of you, about 90% of our combined readers, will not read this story in any newspaper. No. You’re reading it where most people are getting their news — online., which for about two years now has been the experimental new home of our respective publications, has been on quite the different trajectory than our printed editions. And whatever we lost in inches in print we’ve gained in bandwidth on our website, to accommodate our growing news needs and readership.

Pete Vela, left, along with several other subscribers receive help from Monitor’s publisher Stephan Wingert during an open house to assist print subscribers link their accounts for digital access on Monday, April 24, 2023, in McAllen. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

Therein lies perhaps a good analogy for both our past and our present. Because although it’s said that times have changed, it’s really people who do the changing, and many who supported print in the past are either waning in numbers or trading in their daily activity of going outside, complaining about the paper being thrown into a puddle, unwrapping if from the bag to sit down at the table and read with a cup of a coffee for a simple swipe of their finger. So how do we keep doing business the same way we have for more than a century if the business itself is changing?

Some would call that a paradox. We know it as evolution.

Considering that we have more readership now than we ever did during the height of our circulation, you — our readers — have communicated to us loud and clear that you prefer getting your news on the web. To be frank, we actually should have listened much sooner, because it’s a truth that became evident more than a decade ago.

Now you’re leading us into a future that while we should have embraced more aggressively long ago, we’re excited about exploring now. And we have quite the ride in store for you.

There is still a place for print in our lives. While it’s true that the primary home of our reporting is now at, we’re committed to producing six e-editions, two of which will print on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and we’re doing something few other publications have done after making similar changes: We’re opening our doors to anyone who needs help signing in to their e-editions and website, or to simply answer any questions, and we’re throwing in coffee and donuts while you’re here because, why not?

You can find the dates and times in today’s edition, which I trust you’ll read. Until then, happy reading, and be on the lookout for announcements about new features we’re rolling out in the coming weeks.

Michael Rodriguez is the deputy editor for The Monitor, Valley Morning Star and The Brownsville Herald.