Hook reporter Courteney Stuart has published an apology for the tone of her coverage of the murder-suicide on Stony Point last week. The story—revised today—was titled “Dark Designs: Did Satan Play a Role in the Stony Point Murder-Suicide?” The headline played up what appears to be a relatively minor element of the story—that the suspect was a member of an online community of Satanists—and Stuart writes that “the tone of the article, a lack of context, and the original headline were insensitive.” (The facts of the story are not in question.) Complicating things for Stuart and The Hook somewhat, one of the victims was an employee of Hook sister publication, C-Ville Weekly.
This is the first such apology that I can summon to mind in more than a decade of watching local media pretty closely. Apologies for factual mistakes are not uncommon, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a local media outlet say “our facts were right, but we still got this wrong.”