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Mystery hacker finds and restores The Hook's archive

Someone bought and deleted the archive of an edgy local paper. Now, The Hook is back, courtesy of an anonymous hacker.
RadioIQ
Someone bought and deleted the archive of an edgy local paper. Now, The Hook is back, courtesy of an anonymous hacker.

If you lived in Charlottesville between 2002 and 2013, chances are you read the Hook – an edgy weekly whose motto was You Can Handle the Truth.

During the great recession, the paper merged with a competitor, but readers could still find its content online according to former Hook reporter David McNair.

“The Hook stories lived on the Internet, usually coming up in searches for close to a decade.  Earlier this year it just disappeared.”

The former owner said an anonymous buyer made a meaningful contribution to the company’s bottom line.

Former Hook staffers circulated a petition calling on the new owner to restore the archive and they began an investigation.  Their efforts were detailed in a Washington Post story which suggested a D.C. investment banker who had been accused of rape during his time at UVA might have wanted to delete the paper’s coverage.  Now, on his news site the DTM, McNair reports someone else has restored the archive.  Once available at ReadTheHook.com, it’s now at ReadTheHook.net.

“The whole thing is mysterious!" McNair says. "An anonymous buyer buys this thing for dubious reasons, and then an anonymous benefactor restores it.  It’s all very strange.”

He adds that the person who registered the archive has a mailing address in the Caribbean, which could enable him to avoid a copyright challenge. 

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Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief