Alexander Castro ’14 Captures 2016 Rhode Island Press Association Award

Part of the first class of journalism grads at Roger Williams, Castro takes first place in arts criticism

Jill Rodrigues '05
An alumnus holds his journalism award.

BRISTOL, R.I. – Less than two years after RWU graduated its first crop of journalists in 2014, one of them has already made his mark in Rhode Island’s journalism field. Alexander Castro ’14 recently captured first place in arts criticism at the Rhode Island Press Association’s annual awards for print media, from newspapers to magazines, around the state.

With a piece titled, “Documentation with dignity” – which appeared in the Oct. 13, 2015 edition of Newport Mercury – Castro examined Virginia-based photographer Susan Mullally’s portrait series of low-income and homeless individuals holding their most meaningful possessions.

“What stood out about her series was the respect and humanity with which she portrayed her subjects,” says Castro, a freelance reporter who also writes for Art New England and Big Red and Shiny. “There’s a history of street photographers documenting poverty in a way that exploits their subjects’ misery for the purpose of getting a good photo. But with Susan, she became acquainted with these people and showed us a side of poverty and a humanity we’re not typically exposed to.”

Securing the first-place victory, Castro bested seasoned journalists from The Providence Journal, The Independent and Newport This Week. Along with being an enjoyable read, the judges described Castro’s article as having “good word choice with a nice flow to the entire piece.”

Castro credits his professional success to the foundation in immersive reporting he gained through the journalism program at Roger Williams. As a senior capstone project, Castro and his classmates conducted original reporting at Central Falls High School four years after the controversial school board decision to fire all of the teachers and start from scratch. He noted a study abroad course – one that combined journalism and anthropology while reporting from the rainforests of Brazil – that provided him a true field reporting experience, where he unearthed the untold stories of labor opportunities, human rights issues, deforestation and urbanization.

“Those intensive, immersive experiences really developed my approach to journalism,” Castro says. “I try to bring that same depth, thoroughness and nuance that I learned in the journalism program at Roger Williams to my reporting.”