Durham College grad opens own PR firm

For Mike Russell, a 2008 Durham College Public Relations (PR) graduate and veteran mixed martial arts editor, journalist and writer, every day is a new adventure.

In April 2012, Russell became owner and president of Novarum Communications, a full-service PR firm focused on copywriting, editing, and branding with clients in manufacturing, entertainment, combat sports and not-for-profit areas.

Russell, a mature student who attended Durham College at 30, originally hoped to work as a PR professional for the Ultimate Fighting Championship if they chose to open an office in Canada, after learning of the opening of a UFC office in the United Kingdom. Instead he found himself writing for UFC and Fighters Only magazines as a freelance writer, helping build his reputation on both sides of the media desk, in PR and journalism.

“If I didn’t have my schooling first, I don’t think I would be as far along in my career,” said Russell. “It opened a lot of doors. I could go in a writing direction or PR direction or a bunch of other directions. I think it’s a really great course that gives you a lot of experience in a lot of different areas.”

Russell’s stories have appeared in various publications in addition to appearing on UFC, Fox Sports, and Yahoo! Sports websites. He was also senior editor of CagePotato.com, a mixed martial arts blog providing breaking news, fight previews and more. Although he has built a solid foundation within his mixed martial arts niche, he hopes to branch out into other areas as his company expands.

“In this business you have to always be improving,” said Russell, who believes his strong writing skills and perfectionism gave him the ability to open his own firm within four years of graduating, giving him more time with his wife and five children.