Robert Zullo

Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers and was previously editor of the Virginia Mercury. He was a staff writer and managing editor at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., before spending five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Contact him at [email protected]


The Parole Board scandal raises big questions — about the state’s watchdog agency

By: - April 22, 2021

It may not be Teapot Dome or Iran-Contra, but it seems some Democrats would have you believe the nearly year-long Parole Board scandal is nothing more than those ol’ pouncing Republicans seizing on minor procedural mistakes to gin up election-year attacks — even after audio emerged of the browbeating members of Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration […]

A storm passes over the Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 11, 2018)

It never seems to be the right time for campaign finance reform in Virginia

By: - March 5, 2021

St. Augustine — who famously longed for chastity and continence, but not just yet — would recognize a similar spiritual conundrum in Virginia senators on campaign finance reform. Sure thing. Just not right now. Last month, in the waning days of the 2021 General Assembly session, the Senate, on a voice vote, (which means there […]


Yes Virginia, four of your congressmen voted to overturn the will of voters

By: - January 8, 2021

Few living have seen a more disgraceful day at the U.S. Capitol than Wednesday, when thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump, whipped into a frenzy beyond reason after months of lies about the election, bashed their way into the building in a deadly spectacle that will live in infamy. But in a way, the […]


‘Not a happy story’: But how does it end?

By: - January 5, 2021

Already the first days of 2021 feel less like the darkness before the dawn and more like a deeper plunge into our bitter polarization and the ceaseless ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the arrival of vaccines, the initial batches have been slow to be doled out amid a morass of confusion at the state […]

Virginia state senator dies of COVID-19 complications

By: - January 1, 2021

Virginia State Sen. A. Benton “Ben” Chafin Jr., R-Russell, has died of COVID-19, the Senate Republican leadership announced Friday evening. “Tonight, as the Senate of Virginia comes to grips with this tremendous and untimely loss caused by COVID-19, our sympathy and prayers are with Ben’s wife, Lora Lee, their children and grandchildren, and Ben’s mother […]


2020 in review: Top 10 most-viewed Mercury stories of the year

By: - January 1, 2021

Journalism, of course, isn’t a popularity contest. The value of the work isn’t meant to be judged by how many people click on a given story. Indeed, wise reporters and editors stop questioning early in their careers why some stories, especially those that might seem more trivial, take flight while others of equal or greater […]


Burning down the house on the way out

By: - November 14, 2020

It was more than 12 years ago, and it sure feels like a different era in American politics. Stung years earlier during his unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination by a despicable, racist and false whisper campaign during the South Carolina primary, John McCain wasn’t having it in 2008 when an elderly White woman at […]

An Election Day like no other is here at last

By: - November 3, 2020

More than two million Virginians have already cast ballots, but that hasn’t diminished the drama of Election Day, coming with attendant fears of civil unrest, uncertainty over when results might be revealed and the added complications of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. If you need to brush up on what’s on your ballot, you can review […]


Turning down the temperature: StoryCorps picks Richmond as a ‘One Small Step’ city

By: - October 28, 2020

David Isay knows StoryCorps’ latest move won’t go over well with everyone. Getting strangers to talk to each other despite political differences — an attempt to bridge our deep divisions and recognize our common humanity that it calls One Small Step — isn’t exactly de rigueur. “We know from polling that there are people on […]

Could Virginia be heading for a new COVID-19 case peak?

By: - October 21, 2020

Though a University of Virginia model now projects a potential new peak in Virginia COVID-19 cases in November, a top state health official says it’s too soon to tell whether an uptick in cases over the past few weeks is indicative of a bigger trend. “It’s premature to say now things are increasing,” said Dr. […]


Motives shouldn’t matter when it comes to FOIA requests

By: - October 16, 2020

In a tumultuous 2020, when it seems like everything is fraying at the seams, there are still certainties. Death. Taxes. And Virginia officials flouting the spirit and letter of the state’s Freedom of Information Act — which says it “ensures the people of the commonwealth ready access to public records in the custody of a […]

Virginia politicians react to death of Supreme Court justice, political battle over filling her seat

By: - September 19, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the longest-serving member of the court’s liberal minority, died Friday night after a struggle with pancreatic cancer, touching off both tributes and a war of words about filling her seat in a fraught election year. Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats, called her a “giant.” […]