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, former East Valley Tribune higher education and projects reporter; winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting
When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, I was in the midst of editing several memoirs for a group of senior citizens. Having no power or access to my studio for several weeks, I reached out to my colleague Renee Schafer Horton for emergency editorial assistance. Renee jumped right in, tackling a particularly dense and rambling piece of writing. She restructured and polished the text, cut extraneous words without losing the main narrative, corrected grammar and punctuation, and made many other thoughtful suggestions that greatly improved the story. Her editorial services were a Godsend! I heartily recommend Renee for your next book project.
- Judith Dupré, judithdupre.com
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, freelance writer, former Northwest Explorer columnist
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
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, Arizona Daily Star
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
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
Renee has excellent writing skills across a broad variety of styles. She has written news stories, news-feature stories, features and opinion pieces for the paper I edit, the North Texas Catholic. She handles controversial topics with ease and courage. She knows how to insert a laugh line. She can capture the essence of a difficult issue with skill to match that of any professional with whom I’ve worked.
- Jeff Hensley, editor, the North Texas Catholic
I have supervised Renee in one capacity or another for nine years. I’ve tried to make sure that no matter where I am gathering and reporting the news, Renee is there, too. She makes editors look good. She knows how to dig up the news, but more importantly, she’s an exquisite writer who connects the news to readers.
- Mark Evans, editor, TucsonCitizen.com; former AME, the Tucson Citizen
Renee’s solid command of journalistic skills is evident in her work. Never one to write a single-source story, she will track down friends, enemies, co-workers, etc., in her effort to pen a truly balanced piece. Most important to an editor, she completes her assignments quickly and accurately. It was as a feature writer where Renee truly excelled. She has a way of getting subjects to open up to her and reveal parts of themselves rarely seen by others.
- Kate Harrison, former editor, the Catholic Vision
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