Winner, Prism International's creative non-fiction competition, the Maclean Hunter Endowment Award, 2004 and again in 2005 (runner-up, 2006)
1st prize, Prairie Fire's creative non-fiction competition, 2004; 2nd prize 2005
Western Magazine Award, 2005, for personal journalism
2nd place, Prairie Fire's fiction competition, 2004; 3rd place 2006
International Association of Firefighters media awards: 2nd prize (2005); honourable mention (2004)
Dalton Camp Award (Friends of Canadian Broadcasting), 2003
Shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards Competition, Travel category, 2004
Writer's Union short prose competition for developing writers finalist, 2002 and 2003
In 2004, he was selected for the Banff Centre's creative journalism program; in 2005, he attended the Banff Writer's Studio
Russell is a seven-time National Newspaper Award finalist; in 2002 and 2011, he won the award for Best Editorials
A newspaper feature Russell conceived and co-wrote won the Atlantic Journalism award for enterprise reporting, an honourable mention at the Michener Awards for public service journalism, was a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors Freedom of Information Award, and won the Associated Press Managing Editors award for freedom of information, the first Canadian newspaper to win the award in its 30-year history.
He has been a finalist for six Atlantic Journalism Awards; in 2004, he won for magazine writing and in 2005 for commentary.
He is also a four-time National Magazine Award finalist.