Accolades and talking points

I’ve won a few awards in my time, both as a reporter and writer and during my near-decade stint working for the University of Arizona School of Journalism. I might have won more if I’d paid attention better to announcements about competitions, but like the dog in the movie “Up”, I’m frequently distracted by squirrels. Additionally, some outstanding folks have commented on my work, and you can find their thoughts after the awards highlighted below.

  • 2022: National Society of Newspaper Columnists: Honorable Mention, General Commentary
  • 2021: National Society of Newspaper Columnists: Honorable Mention, Crisis Commentary
  • 2014: University of Arizona: Outstanding Professional Advisor
  • 2012: University of Arizona: Outstanding Emerging Professional Advisor
  • 2009: Arizona Press Club, first place, best news blog
  • 2009: Arizona Press Club, First Place: Education Reporting (non-metro)
  • 2009: Arizona Press Club, Second Place: Business Reporting (non-metro)
  • 2008: The Tucson Citizen: Content Producer of the Year
  • 2008: Arizona Newspapers Association, Second Place: Best Sports Story
  • 2003: Arizona Press Club, Second Place: Feature Column Writing
  • 2003: Arizona Press Club, Third Place: Sustained Coverage or Series
  • 2003: National Catholic Press Association, Third Place: Best Commentary
  • 2003: Arizona Newspapers Association, Third Place: Best Non-daily Column
  • 2002: National Catholic Press Association, Second Place: Best Feature Writing

The first thought I ever had about Renee’s reporting was, ‘Thank God she’s in Tucson.’ Because if she covered higher ed in Phoenix, I’d have had to try to match her exhaustive and engaging articles on a daily basis. She just seemed to catch everything that happened on the beat. My opinion of Renee rocketed into the stratosphere earlier this year as I read her coverage on the Tucson Citizen’s closing, the drama of sale negotiations, the Justice department investigation into Gannett and on and on. Even as her newsroom folded, she reported with passion the final chapter of Arizona’s oldest newspaper, at times in heartbreaking detail.– Ryan Gabrielson, reporter, ProPublica. Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.

As a columnist, Renee entertained and educated readers each week in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Family section. She shared her life with warmth, humor and tact, frequently offering keen insight into issues light and heavy. More than that, she was a consummate professional and never missed a deadline.– Rhonda Owen, former associate editor, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

When I, as a veteran editor, wanted someone to do a particularly exceptional job of interviewing and reporting on a difficult topic, Renee could handle it. Good story writing is more than conveying an event. It requires conveying a context, a mood or a scene … Renee has always been able to write the award-winning story. For the period when she was a regular columnist with us, she was by far the most popular one.– Bronson Havard, former editor, the Texas Catholic.

When I started working with Renee Schafer Horton, I was an experienced journalist about to venture into the realm of column writing, and Renee was a seasoned columnist whose regular venues had included the Dallas Morning News. When I asked for her help, she stepped into the role of my mentor. Renee didn’t fall all over herself to speak gently when she saw something that wasn’t working in my writing; she was dependably straightforward. Yet, our editing sessions almost always boosted my self-esteem. It felt as if she knew the path ahead of me and admired the writer I was sure to become. (It didn’t hurt that she’s very funny. When you’re being edited, comic relief can be such a … relief.)-– Laura Marble, former Northwest Explorer columnist.

Renee is a meticulous and detail-oriented journalist who leaves no stone unturned when it comes to constructing a story. She is relentless to the point of fearlessness — and yet remains tactful, polite and courteous — in pursuing sources for information to make her stories complete.-– Michael Chihak, former editor and publisher, the Tucson Citizen

Having worked on stories with Renee, I’ve benefited from her careful sentence crafting and precise choice of details. Her empathy leads her to the resonating questions, whether directed at a journalistic source or at another writer. Her doggedness leads her to answers and beautifully polished prose. I’m grateful to have had the chance to learn from her and would recommend it without pause.— Carli Brosseau, database reporter, The Oregonian.

Renee Schafer Horton is one of the most talented reporters and writers I’ve worked with in my 20-plus years at newspapers. She can write thought-provoking columns and tell compelling feature stories about human tragedy and triumph that touch readers’ hearts (and) … is a persistent interviewer who asks all the right questions, and especially the tough questions, even of people in high places.– Diane Luber, former city editor, the Tucson Citizen