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Roger Wetherell has been named circulation director and manager of mailroom operations for the Juneau Empire.
Wetherell has been with the Empire for 12 months as interim circulation director. He rebuilt the department with customer service officers and a district manager. He also helped lead the streamlining of mailroom and distribution operations.
Wetherell, 42, was born in Southbridge, Mass. His first job in newspaper circulation began at age 12. He recalls delivering more than 100 papers during a blizzard in 1978, pushing his way through more than three feet of snow.
An aspiring journalist, Wetherell joined the U.S. Navy in 1982 as a photoreporter. At age 19, he captured still and video images of warfare during the 1983 Beirut crisis.
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After six years in the Navy, three as a broadcaster for the Armed Forces Radio Network in Naples, Italy, Wetherell transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard and served for 14 years.
As a Coast Guard spokesman and photojournalist, Wetherell was at the forefront of top headline news. In 1991, after the ouster of Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide, he was the only photojournalist to capture the refugee exodus from the Caribbean nation.
One of his photos appeared on the front page of the New York Times.
Wetherell was also a spokesman for law enforcement, oil spill and search-and-rescue operations including the TWA 800 crash, Rhode Island's largest oil spill, the sinking of the fishing vessel Arctic Rose with 15 lives lost in 2001, and the 2005 cargo ship Selendang Ayu disaster off the Aleutian Islands.
"During his first six months at the Empire, Mr. Wetherell's primary responsibilities were to bring stability and continuity to a department that had experienced much personnel turnover in 2003, 2004 and 2005," said publisher Robert Hale.
"With District Manager Brian Rotola, customer service officers Rob Korpela and Amanda Ohmer, and mailroom supervisor Beatrice Jones, our circulation department is stronger than it's been since 2002."
With a solid foundation in place, Wetherell said his department's primary focus is outstanding customer service.
"We're constantly seeking better avenues to provide the best home delivery and customer service to those who value the Juneau Empire as their community newspaper," Wetherell said.