It wrote about grisly homicides, corrupt land deals and environmental issues in the Shenandoah Valley. Three times in just a decade, it won the Virginia Press Association’s top honor, the prize for “journalistic integrity and community service.”
Their evidence, while circumstantial, is intriguing. There’s the mystery buyer who purchased the Hook archive from its longtime custodian a few months before it went dark. There’s the reluctance of people involved in that sale to say much about it.
Then there’s the flurry of copyright complaints apparently filed by the new owner in the days and weeks after the sale. These complaints, seeking removal of links to the archive, have targeted news sites, discussion forums and small-time blogs, most of which cited one particular story among the thousands the Hook wrote about in its heyday: a rape accusation involving students at the University of Virginia nearly 19 years ago.