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10-year-old archive of city history disappears

The Hook
Lisa Provence
/
The Hook's office graced Charlottesville's downtown mall for more than a decade.

For more than a decade, a weekly publication called The Hook covered Charlottesville with flair, winning awards for in-depth reporting on controversies like the firing of former UVA President Teresa Sullivan.

“We won the Virginia Press Association’s highest award for our reporting on that," says Lisa Provence, former news editor of the paper which was sued unsuccessfully a number of times. Until recently her stories could be found online in The Hook’s archive.

“I got an e-mail from my former colleague Dave McNair," she recalls. "He said, ‘I had long wondered when this day would happen,” and it was a link to the Hook website, and you click on it, and there is nothing.”

The publication’s owner – Cville Holdings LLC – had no comment. It folded the paper in 2013 but recently sold the archive to an anonymous buyer.

While The Hook’s direct archive seems to be offline, parts of it, at least, appear to have been catalogued by independent internet archives like the Wayback Machine.

“What would anyone do with news that, at this point, is over ten years old? To us the obvious thing looked like someone who did not want something that had been reported by The Hook still up online and shut it down.”

You can view the petition here:
https://www.change.org/p/help-us-protect-local-journalism-and-preserve-local-history-restore-the-hook-website

Sandy Hausman joined our news team in 2008 after honing her radio skills in Chicago. Since then, she's won several national awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Radio, Television and Digital News Association and the Public Radio News Directors' Association.