Ryan Chartrand

On my office wall in Chapel Hill hangs the last front page of the Mustang Daily that I designed during my tenure as 1993-94 editor. On that page, at three columns wide, is a photo featuring a Daily editor’s naked ass.

It’s not mine, naturally. That’s the luxury of being the editor. “Make sure it’s someone else’s ass” is a learn-by-doing lesson you might as well start practicing at the Daily.

The ass made the front page in our effort to recap the year’s craziest campus crime stories. One story came from a spring incident in which a late-night janitor opened a classroom only to find a fellow there rather visibly enjoying a pornographic film. The man fled across campus in the nude.

Normally that year, we took ourselves rather seriously on the Daily editorial board. I remember the staff exposing Warren Baker’s quiet wooing of the University of Nebraska presidency, and amazing work by all when the AIDS Memorial Quilt came to campus. But when it came to the last edition, I shocked and appalled our adviser, Marvin Sosna, by bucking our hard-news sensibilities. Pondering our zany-story roundup with no art in hand, I suggested: Why don’t we re-enact one of them for the lead photo?

It took three men: me, photographer Scott Robinson and an assistant managing editor who can reveal himself if he so chooses. We chose the Graphic Arts building, room 303 for the late-night shoot. I played the janitor, silhouetting Scott’s frame with a baseball cap, dangling headphones and a dropped jaw. Expertly, Scott lit the hall with strobes. Then, on cue, my AME sprang from 303 and sprinted toward the stairs, videotape in hand.

It was true teamwork. By Friday, the Daily carried the photo and a big headline that alluded to both the end of the academic year and the photographic treatment of the weirdness we’d endured to get there. It read: “The End Is Near.”

With apologies to the learned instructors who taught me, I think that’s my best work to date.

Editor’s note: There is a file in the editors’ office labeled “Sickos in the library” where these stories were originally found. No one knows how long the file has been there.

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