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Tribute to pioneer of Irish news Don Cockburn

12 September 2017

NUJ members have paid tribute to Don Cockburn, the former RTÉ journalist who died in Dublin last week.

For three decades Don was the authoritative voice of RTÉ news and was recognised as one of the finest Irish  broadcasters of his generation.

Don was known for his modesty and low key lifestyle and his firm conviction that journalists should never allow their personality to become part of the news. 

He joined RTÉ as a part-time Raidió Éireann announcer in 1958, before becoming a full-time employee in 1972. Initially he was a member of Actors Equity and he joined the NUJ in 1981 as his role evolved within the newsroom.  

Don was a regular attender at union functions following his retirement in 1992 and was proud of his association with the Dublin broadcasting branch. 

In a tribute, Séamus Dooley, NUJ acting general secretary, said: 

"Don looked upon himself as an accidental journalist. He studied commerce at Trinity College, Dublin and studied Russian and Spanish with a view to becoming a diplomat. By a twist of fate he instead landed a job in RTÉ after a spell in Dublin Corporation. The part-time continuity announcer went on to adorn the profession of journalism. His erudition, integrity and professional commitment were recognised by his colleagues and he set the gold standard to which they aspired. Don loved the relative anonymity of radio and never sought the limelight, believing that the personality of a news reader should not distract from the news." 

On behalf of the union Tim Dawson, NUJ president, extended sympathy to Don’s son John and daughter Evelyn.

Don Cockburn was 'green and generous', funeral Mass told - The Irish Times

Tags: , dublin, dublin broadcasting branch, rte, obituaries, obituary