Tributes paid to Cork journalist Dermot 'Rusty' Russell; 'He was a brilliant reporter and editor'

Tributes paid to Cork journalist Dermot 'Rusty' Russell; 'He was a brilliant reporter and editor'
Pic:  Howard Crowdy

ONE of Cork's most renowned journalists and editors, Dermot 'Rusty' Russell, has been remembered as "a very smart, skilled and wise reporter and editor" following his passing. Mr Russell peacefully passed away on Thursday at Cork University Hospital at the age of 86. 

He began his journalistic career in July 1954 when he joined the Examiner Group, starting off in the reading room before transferring to editorial a couple of months later. Over the course of his working life, he carved out a stellar career and became one of the most well-respected news and sports journalists both locally and nationally. Former rugby correspondent for the Irish Examiner, Barry Coughlan, lauded Mr Russell as “brilliant” and “so sharp”. 

“He covered the whole gambit from major news events, court reporting and council meetings. He could hold his own with anyone and he really did have a keen eye for news and a huge network of contacts,” Mr Coughlan told The Echo

Mr Russell later transitioned into sports journalism and held the position of golf and rugby correspondent. He was acknowledged and highly respected in both spheres and went on to cover the Irish rugby tour to Australia during the amateur era. 

That tour was a significant one in terms of enhancing the profile of the paper. “It broke the mould. This heralded the start of the Examiner’s transition to becoming more of a national paper,” Mr Coughlan explained. Dermot conveyed the great excitement as Ireland went on to triumph against the mighty Australians.

“Rusty was a key figure in bringing rugby and golf to a much wider audience,” he continued. 

Mr Russell later became the Night News Editor for the Cork Examiner, before moving to the Evening Echo and taking over as Editor in the late 1980s. 

He retired from the company in 1991, after 37 years of service. 

Paying tribute to the late, great man, current Editor of The Echo, Maurice Gubbins, remembered him as one of the finest journalists of his generation, a smart, skilled and wise reporter and editor. 

“He had a big personality and was an important figure in the life of Cork and Munster. He was also a good-natured and kind person and a great mentor for younger journalists. Our sympathy goes to Rose and all his family,” he said. 

The removal of Mr Russell took place last night. His cremation will take place privately.

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