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Rosebud newspapers circulation department is back in familiar hands

MEDFORD — Stepping back into his old digs like he never missed a beat, Mail Tribune Circulation Director Ed Rose is both the new kid on the block and a familiar old face.

Hired last month to breathe new life into the Mail Tribune’s circulation department, Rose is tasked with resolving delivery issues and inspiring an improved level of reliability and customer service.

Taking his trademark proactive approach, Rose was recruited by management seeking someone familiar with the community and the award-winning newspaper to resolve issues subscribers have faced.

Rose, 61, began his career at the age of 26 when he was hired to manage delivery services for the family-owned Durham Sun in Durham, North Carolina. Over more than three decades he honed his skills at newspapers and publishers around the country, including Hearst Newspapers on the Gulf Coast and for the Mail Tribune from 2010-2015, when it was under the ownership of Dow Jones.

While he left at the end of 2015, Rose maintained ties with the community and admits he always felt nostalgic and “at home” in Southern Oregon. Just when he began thinking about new opportunities from up in Portland, an opportunity arose.

“I consider myself local in this community. I’m happy to be back down here. When I got a call to come back here, even though I lived in Portland and traveled everywhere, it felt very much like what I was supposed to do,” said Rose.

“You can’t succeed as a newspaper without dependable delivery,” Rose said. “Where we’ve been is just trying to get the paper out every day. In that kind of environment, special requests go right out the window, so we have to get ahead of that and stay ahead of it,” Rose said.

“We need to find stability and focus again on putting that fine point on our delivery service.”

At the forefront of successful customer service is a good team, better training and improved recruiting, said Rose.

“We want to develop a database of strong, interesting drivers. It’s important to have people who will follow up and be attentive and return calls promptly. The employees we have who are committed to delivery, I used to say they’re too busy driving to even get gas.” said Rose.

“What we have to do for significantly improved delivery is demand accountability every single day. Customers want to see one person, one face. They don’t want a different person Tuesday and Thursday and someone else in between. If we pass along a message that we promised to forward, we want it to go to the regular driver and we want the issue to be addressed.”

Steven Saslow, owner of Rosebud Media and publisher of the Mail Tribune, said he was happy to have Rose back on board and confident about his ability to take circulation and delivery to the next level.

“Something as important as delivering our product and customer service has been paramount of what we’ve been trying to improve since the inception of Rosebud,” said Saslow.

“It will be a real asset not just to the company but to the entire community in improving the quality of that service.”

Rose said he hopes to go back and win over past customers and fix what is not working for longtime loyal subscribers.

“The Mail Tribune is and always has been a very solid newspaper. This is a good newspaper community, and we have to get delivery right. Ultimately, once the delivery gets fixed, we’re going to go back to everybody who’s had a problem and say, ‘Come on back. Our delivery is not only stable but it’s excellent,” he said.

“There’s no question in my mind, with my experience, that I can really make a difference and make the changes that are needed. Sometimes you just have certain places where you feel like you’re really supposed to be there. It has been like coming home. I’m definitely up to the task.”

Rose can be reached at erose@rosebudmedia.com or .

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

Rosebud newspaper circulation director Ed Rose works Tuesday at the Mail Tribune printing press.Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune