Veteran local newsman Dick Russ is leaving WKYC (Channel 3) to become vice president of resource development for North Coast Community Homes, a Cleveland organization providing housing for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and other disabilities.
Russ has long been active with the group, including as a current board member. As a reporter, he has often done stories on disabilities; he said that topic and religion were his two news specialties. And his involvement is personal, as he had an older brother with an intellectual disability.
Russ, a Brecksville resident, will oversee fundraising and marketing for the organization, which has developed and maintained almost 200 properties in Cuyahoga, Summit, Lake, Stark and Erie counties. His first day on the job will be Monday.
The Kent State alum’s last day at WKYC is Friday. Russ has been with the Cleveland NBC affiliate for 14 years, working as an anchor, reporter and managing editor. Before that he spent 20 years at WJW (Channel 8), where he was for a time the Akron/Canton reporter. He has also worked for WNEO/WEAO (Channels 45/49) and several local radio stations.
Russ said North Coast approached him about the job. While these are often difficult times for news media — print as well as broadcast — Russ said that was not much of a factor in his decision. He said it was more a matter of a new, and worthwhile, opportunity, of going toward one thing instead of away from another.
He will still have a hand in TV production through a private program-production company, Eastern Christian Media.
Rich Heldenfels can be contacted at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.