College Pals Win Pulitzer Prizes for Katrina Coverage

Photo of Jaques Castro swimming at UTA Dec. 2, 1987, taken by Rex Curry.

While attending the University of Texas at Arlington from 1987-88, my wife and I wrote for The Shorthorn, a student newspaper filled with gifted, headstrong and completely insufferable journalists who were already clearing space on the mantle for Pulitzer Prizes.

We'd get into such gigantic battles at press time you'd have thought that students at the commuter school actually read the paper.

Two of my Shorthorn colleagues just won Pulitzers for breaking news photography: Michael Ainsworth and Tom Fox of the Dallas Morning News, part of an eight-member team that covered Hurricane Katrina.

Ainsworth and Fox were great photogs in college, so I'm not surprised they've developed the kind of talent you can lord over others.

Now that they've won something this huge, I wish I had dirt on them. But they were good guys who were easy to work alongside, with the exception of one time I butchered Fox's photo with poor cropping and he was disconsolate in grief for days.

The scanned photo that accompanies this entry didn't win the Pulitzer. It's a picture of Jaques Castro diving into a UT-Arlington pool in December 1987, taken by Rex Curry. Take a look at the enlarged version and you might notice something disturbing about the young swimmer.

This picture caused a huge fight among the photographers when I worked with Ainsworth and Fox.

The swimmer's silhouette originally contained a protuberance that dispelled the belief that pools cause shrinkage. While Photo Editor Leslie White was preparing it for publication, someone at the paper became concerned about the mindful of the delicate sensibilities of school administrators.

In an argument that hinged on the public's right to know, some photographers were not happy about Castro's transformation from convex to concave. I think the argument broke down along gender lines, with male Shorthorners troubled at the manner in which Castro had been denuded and White defending the crop.

White's the Morning News photo editor who assigned Ainsworth to cover Katrina, so they must have worked things out.


Castro = castrato?


The way I remember that whole thing is that Dycus was the one that first came with the idea of package reduction. And then later insisted on it.

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