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]


The Weekender: Impeachment, eulogies, guns, gubbins and more

By: - October 20, 2019

The Weekender: a round-up of opinions from across Virginia. Mercury commentary this week that you might have missed: If there’s a tie election this year in a House of Delegates or Senate race, we’re still going to the bowl (a random drawing). But that needs to change, I argue. Roger Chesley says a judge’s decision striking down Virginia’s requirement to identify […]


Remember that bowl? We still might need it.

By: - October 16, 2019

For a little while, the bowl was all anyone could talk about. The blue-and-white stoneware vessel handcrafted by a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts potter got a starring turn in a memorable episode of Virginia politics a little less than two years ago when the name on the slip of paper plucked from within, concealed […]


The ‘Reverse Robin Hood’ rides again

By: - September 19, 2019

Autumn? Fall? Samhain? Nah. There’s only one name for the time between Labor Day and Election Day: the Silly Season. Once, it referred largely to the news desert doldrums of August, but it’s more or less applicable to our politics year-round these days. Flacks of all persuasions and affiliations are aggressively shopping what’s know as […]


I got a Virginia concealed-carry permit. No one made me prove I actually can fire a gun and hit a target.

By: - September 11, 2019

The card itself is pretty unimpressive considering the privilege it conveys. They don’t even laminate it for you. Last month, in a terse letter, Richmond’s circuit court clerk notified me that my Virginia concealed weapon permit was enclosed. There was no “Spider Man”-style admonishment about great power and great responsibility. “Please sign on the line […]

Virginia’s first state official focused on diversity, equity and inclusion is hired

By: - September 9, 2019

A former Old Dominion University administrator will be Virginia’s first-ever director of diversity, equity and inclusion, the governor’s office announced Monday. Janice Underwood, ODU’s former director of diversity initiatives, will be the first person to fill the position Gov. Ralph Northam created in May amid his pivot to addressing racial equity following his blackface scandal. […]

Experts predict erosion at a third of Virginia’s beaches from Dorian

By: - September 6, 2019

Experts predict more than a third of Virginia’s beaches and dunes will see “some level of erosion” from Hurricane Dorian, the U.S. Geological Survey said Friday. Virginia will be much harder hit than Maryland, with about 34 percent of the commonwealth’s dunes experiencing erosion compared to only 2 percent in its northern neighbor, the agency […]

Border wall money diversion will take $77 million from Virginia military projects, Kaine and Warner say

By: - September 4, 2019

The Trump administration’s relentless push to build its wall along the Mexican border will siphon more than $77 million from four military projects in Virginia, Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner said in a statement today. The Democratic senators said they were informed by the Department of Defense that the overall diversion of $3.6 billion […]


Wanna buy a gun? Here’s what I don’t have to do before I sell it to you.

By: - August 29, 2019

Say that I’ve got a gun for sale. I have a few options. I can sell it to a licensed gun dealer or place it on consignment with one, in which case that dealer would be required to perform a background check on anyone who wants to buy it. I could take it to a […]

State commission approves new emergency regulations to protect striped bass numbers

By: - August 27, 2019

Recreational anglers will see their allowable catch of striped bass curtailed this fall, an effort by state regulators to protect a diminishing stock they say is being overfished. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved emergency regulations that will limit fishermen to a single fish between 20 and 36 inches long per day […]

Virginia Department of Health issues warning on vaping illness

By: - August 26, 2019

Three cases of a severe lung illness associated with vaping have been reported in Virginia, the state Health Department reported Monday in a warning about the risks of e-cigarettes. As of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had identified 193 potential cases of the vaping-related lung illness in 22 states. “Symptoms of […]


Send us back?

By: - August 14, 2019

Sooner or later, this was bound to happen. When Virginia’s own Ken Cuccinelli — the former attorney general famous for attempting to prosecute climate change research, covering up Virtus’ bareness, suing to overturn Obamacare, defending anti-sodomy laws and other conservative windmill-tilting that even rolled the eyes of many a Republican here — joined the Trump […]

The upper reaches of Lake Anna have been hit by algae blooms that can cause illness, prompting state officials to warn visitors against swimming and wading. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Cyanobacteria blooms can be fatal for pets

By: - August 13, 2019

Late summer is the “bloom” time for harmful cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, and some of Virginia’s ponds and streams are under advisories, the state Department of Health says. From the Flannagan Reservoir in Dickenson County to parts of Lake Anna, you check where advisories have been posted here. “Be aware of algae blooms […]