Author

Robert Zullo

Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers before becoming editor of the Virginia Mercury in 2018. 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. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey. A former waiter, armored car guard and appliance deliveryman, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact him at [email protected]

Virginia Mercury

VMI to remove Jackson statue, pilot program in Richmond provides universal basic income, 101-year-old WWII veteran dies in Roanoke, and more headlines

By: - October 30, 2020

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • The Virginia Military Institute, convulsed by press reports of racism, will move a statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, who was an instructor at the school.—Roanoke Times • A pilot program in Richmond will give 18 families $500 per month, an idea […]

COMMENTARY

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. […]

COMMENTARY

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.” […]

COMMENTARY

The wind, the sun and the summer of 2020

By: - September 14, 2020

For a while now, but especially in the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about “The North Wind and the Sun.” If you know your Aesop, you’ve read the fable. The Sun and the North Wind engage in a contest to see who can get a traveler to remove his cloak. The Wind goes first, […]

COMMENTARY

Why do we know more about a rabid raccoon attack than COVID-19 outbreaks in Virginia?

By: - August 4, 2020

In March, the nation watched in horror as refrigerated trucks appeared outside hospitals in New York City to handle the overflow of bodies of people who died from COVID-19. In July, more than four months after the pandemic was declared, Texas and Arizona were among states requesting the morgue trucks and it was hard to […]

COMMENTARY

Delays, legal challenges allowed the curtain to be pulled back on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

By: - July 6, 2020

They might as well have said “Ding-dong, the witch is dead!” The news releases, statements and tweets were coming in hot and heavy Sunday afternoon after Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, announced that the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline was toast, undone by a string of successful legal challenges that stripped it of permits, […]

COMMENTARY

‘I was in a gang. It’s called the police.’ It’s time to change American policing.

By: - June 10, 2020

At the time, I laughed. Nearly 13 years later, amid the protests convulsing American cities over police brutality and racism, it doesn’t seem like a joke. I was writing profiles of the candidates vying to replace a longtime south Louisiana sheriff and Godfrey “Doc” Buquet, a retired chief of detectives who looked more than a […]

Protests over George Floyd’s death spread to Virginia

By: and - May 30, 2020

Protesters in Richmond and Hampton Roads blocked highways and started fires Friday night as unrest that has gripped the country following the death of George Floyd during his arrest by police in Minnesota spread to Virginia. In Richmond, at least one car, a Dumpster and a GRTC Pulse bus were set afire. Protests continued in […]

COMMENTARY

Fix FOIA: The pandemic is throwing Virginia’s public records shortcomings into stark relief

By: - May 15, 2020

Last month, as it was becoming apparent that Virginia was lagging other states in testing capacity and struggling to procure enough protective gear for long-term care facilities, first responders and hospitals, Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration announced it had reached a deal with global consulting firm McKinsey and Company to shore up those aspects of the […]

COMMENTARY

The spiteful horns of the unhelpful

By: - April 23, 2020

They came. They honked. They went. A few hundred protesters, in a demonstration that appears to be linked to a conservative push to make some political hay out of stay-at-home orders and social distancing shutdowns and egged on by cynical Virginia politicians and President Donald Trump, cruised around the Virginia Capitol Wednesday, laying on their […]