Author

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]

COMMENTARY

In a maelstrom of mistakes, failing to learn from this pandemic would be the gravest error

By: - March 30, 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about an interview I did on a bleak day in December of 2016 in Buchanan County. In the gravel lot of a maintenance yard for coal-bed methane machinery, a 68-year-old heavy equipment operator was showing me his truck — festooned with Trump and “Hillary for Prison” stickers — for […]

Virginia Mercury

Distillers switch to sanitizer, gun sales soar, new drive-thru COVID-19 testing and more headlines

By: - March 21, 2020

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • “Working from home in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak is not an option for first responders.”  — The Free Lance-Star • Silverback Distillery, owned by Christine Riggleman, wife of U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Nelson, is the latest distillery to switch to hand […]

The State Corporation Commission

Rate review bill lands on Senate committee docket with little time to spare

By: - February 28, 2020

A much-watched bill that would restore the ability of the State Corporation Commission to review Dominion Energy’s base rates has been placed on the docket for the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee’s Monday meeting. The bipartisan legislation by Del. Jay Jones, D-Norfolk, and Del. Lee Ware, R-Powhatan, cleared the House on a 77-23 vote but […]

COMMENTARY

On one powerful Senate committee, elections definitely have consequences

By: - February 27, 2020

Back in 2018, as Dominion Energy was pushing its contentious Grid Transformation and Security Act through the General Assembly, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee was debating whether the legislation allowed a “double dip” — that is, billing ratepayers twice for hundreds of millions in new utility spending contemplated by the law. Sen. Dick Saslaw, […]

COMMENTARY

Democratic-led Senate committee kills bills to beef up regulation of pipeline construction

By: - February 20, 2020

Remember that marathon State Water Control Board meeting from last year? The board agonized behind closed doors for hours with its legal counsel over whether it had the authority to revoke a certification it issued for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which had been spilling sediment all over its Southwest Virginia construction route, clogging private property […]

COMMENTARY
The Richmond Times-Dispatch's downtown office building. (Ned Oliver/Virginia-Mercury)

Virginia, here’s why you should worry about your newspapers

By: - February 6, 2020

If you’ve ever worked in journalism or had the misfortune of listening to a reporter complain about it, you’ve probably heard a version of this adage: The hours are long and the pay sucks, but, on the other hand, everyone hates you. That’s why it’s probably too much to expect mass apprehension about what’s happening […]

Virginia Mercury

Police officer killed in Newport News; Bill restricting student censorship fails; A ‘deep cleaning’ in Bristol and more headlines

By: - January 24, 2020

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • A Newport News police officer was killed after she was dragged by a car following a traffic stop. — WTKR • The Virginian-Pilot’s building in Norfolk has been sold to a Richmond apartment developer. — The Virginian-Pilot • A Democratic-led Senate committee […]

COMMENTARY

Monday’s gun rally, two state laws and some thorny questions

By: - January 22, 2020

Yes, Monday’s massive gun rally, which closed streets and saw thousands of heavily armed people playing soldier on the streets of Richmond, ended without violence. Yes, many of those who attended are undoubtedly law-abiding people sincere in their fervor about the Second Amendment. Yes, the crowd shouldn’t be construed as solely a collection of fringe […]

Who’s coming to Richmond gun rally; Antifa says it won’t mount counter protest; Gun sales surge and more headlines

By: - January 20, 2020

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. GUN RALLY: • Meet Phil Van Cleave, the computer programmer and ex-rock guitarist who heads the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which is organizing today’s massive gun rally in Richmond. — The Chesterfield Observer • Virginia antifascist activists say they will not mount a counter […]

COMMENTARY

The Weekender: Gun rally, firearms debate dominate opinion pages

By: - January 19, 2020

Programming note: The Weekender is moving. Starting this coming week, this newsletter will go out on Saturdays.  Mercury commentary ICYMI: In a guest piece, Alexa Capeloto, an associate professor of journalism at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, explores how schools like George Mason University get to keep secret donors who can influence instruction. Mercury […]

COMMENTARY

Reaping the harvest of the (mis)information age

By: - January 15, 2020

Shortly after Barack Obama won his first term as president, I was sitting in a courthouse in South Louisiana waiting for the start of a proceeding in a trial I was covering. The sheriff’s deputies who patrolled the courthouse were chatting with clerks about the havoc the new president-elect was about to create for gun […]

COMMENTARY
Virginia Mercury

The Weekender: our round-up of Virginia opinion

By: - January 12, 2020

Good morning from the Mercury! Mercury commentary ICYMI: Guest columnist Joyce Barnes, a home health worker, remembers the moment her teenage grandson, in his first job as a janitor, outstripped her earnings. She says it’s time to boost Virginia’s minimum wage. Former State Air Pollution Control Board member and retired UVA professor Vivian Thomson argued that […]