At The Washington Post, Brenner served as Maryland editor, metropolitan editor, Sunday editor and deputy universal news editor. He was one of the primary editors of the newspaper's coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings, awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. The following year he helped lead the merger of the newspaper's digital and print newsrooms.
"I am honored and very excited to return to UT Austin as director of the School of Journalism," he said. "The school is celebrating its centennial, and when you think about the impact its graduates and faculty have had on journalism, the university's motto comes to mind: 'What Starts Here Changes the World.' What excites me most, though, is that I am joining the school and the Moody College of Communication at a time of tremendous optimism and opportunity. Step inside the Belo Center for New Media, and you see and feel it the talent, ambitions, high standards and openness to ideas."
Brenner's appointment marks a return to the School of Journalism, where he was a visiting lecturer in the spring of 2009. That year, the Moody College honored him with the DeWitt Carter Reddick Award, which recognizes excellence in the field of communication.
Currently, Brenner serves as deputy director of Stanford University's journalism program. At Stanford, his professional home since September 2010, Brenner also teaches public issues reporting, digital journalism and long-form feature writing in the Department of Communication. The Stanford Daily named him one of Stanford's 10 best professors in January.
A graduate of Oberlin College, Brenner began his reporting career at the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina and then worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in California and Florida before joining The Washington Post. He is an adjunct faculty member at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla., and was previously a Poynter Ethics Fellow. He served as technical adviser for the 2009 film "State of Play."
"Brenner brings an acute awareness of new trends facing journalism and demonstrated success at furthering the teaching and intellectual missions of journalism programs," said Roderick P. Hart, dean of the Moody College of Communication. "In turn, he will help our students anticipate the shifting media landscape and enable them to make the communication breakthroughs of tomorrow."