Brian Naplachowski has been named the Juneau Empire's new circulation director, publisher Robert Hale announced last week. The position had been vacant for months.
Naplachowski, who has worked in print journalism for the past 12 years, said he hopes to have a positive impact on the Empire's circulation figures and, in particular customer service and retention.
"The No. 1 priority is to improve circulation and to retain the customers we have, as well as grow," he said.
Naplachowski arrived in Alaska Jan. 26, and said his move from Sakagit Valley, Wa., was inspired by the beauty of Juneau.
"Its breathtakingly beautiful," he said. "Lots of snow, though. That's about all I've seen since I got here."
Naplachowski began his newspaper career in 1996 as an independent sales representative promoting home-delivery subscriptions for various newspapers across California and Washington.
A few years later, he accepted the position of circulation sales manager at the Skagit Valley Herald, a newspaper with a daily circulation of about 17,500, based in Mount Vernon, Wash. After two years in that role, he was promoted to circulation director, a position he held for eight years.
"Mr. Naplachowski brings to the Empire the very kind of sales, marketing and promotions background we've needed for the past nine months or so," Hale said. "He also will provide us with a keen focus on improved customer service. In fact, customer service will be the top priority for his circulation department for his first couple of months on the job."
Naplachowski comes to Juneau with his wife Lisa and their two dogs.
The Empire has also promoted one of the members of its newsroom.
Jill Homer, an Alaska resident since 2005, has been named deputy managing editor of the newspaper, Managing Editor Charles Westmoreland announced Tuesday.
Homer, 29, has served as weekend editor at the Empire since joining the news team in 2006. She previously worked as an arts reporter and page designer for the Homer Tribune on the Kenai peninsula.
She previously worked as a copy editor at a daily newspaper in Idaho and as community editor for a bi-weekly newspaper in Utah, her home state, where she graduated from the University of Utah in 2000 with a degree in mass communication.
"I'm looking forward to growing the Empire as a community newspaper," she said. "Newspapers are like a window to the world; they instantly connect you to the community."
When not working, Homer is an avid biking enthusiast. Last year she published "Ghost Trails," an autobiography about her experience biking the Iditarod Trail Invitational, a human-powered race that follows the same 350-mile route from Knik to McGrath that dog sleds traverse during the annual race.
"Jill is the epitome of the word dedication," Westmoreland said. "The same determination and work ethic that she applies to mountain biking can also be seen in the newsroom on a daily basis."
Homer intends to participate in the race again this year before heading south this summer to take part in the Great Divide Race, a 2,700-mile bike race starting in Alberta, Canada, and ending along the southernmost New Mexico border.
Aside from extreme biking, Homer also enjoys reading, snowboarding and blogging (about mountain biking). Her blog can be viewed at arcticglass.blogspot.com.
She has received several awards in page design, including first place news page design from the Society of Professional Journalism in 2007; third place feature page design from the Alaska Press Club in 2005; and first place community news page design from the Utah Press Association in 2001.
She lives in Douglas with her boyfriend of eight years, Geoff Roes.
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