An apology to the Romando and Walton families and friends
To the friends and family of the Romandos and Waltons and to the Charlottesville community at large,
On Thursday, August 30, I wrote and posted an article covering the deaths of Lily, Andrew, and Noah Romando and their mother, Beth Walton. While to the best of my knowledge the facts contained in my article are accurate, the tone of the article, a lack of context, and the original headline were insensitive and have added to the anguish of those who knew and loved the deceased. For that, I am truly sorry.
As many regular Hook readers know, I have been with this paper as senior editor since its inception in 2002 and worked for four years prior to that at C-VILLE Weekly, where Beth Walton was employed at the time of her death. I have covered other tragedies in our community and have always tried to adhere to a high standard of journalism. In covering other stories, I have developed close working relationships with those affected and have tried to present facts, even those that are unpleasant, in an unbiased manner, always keeping in mind that there are real lives affected, hearts broken, families devastated.
While I am an investigative reporter, I am also a member of this community and a mother of children close to the Romando children's ages. In my efforts to remain objective in a tragedy that is unfathomable, and which has directly affected many people with whom I am personally acquainted, I believe I stepped back too far and failed to provide in-depth reporting that remained sensitive to the small, close-knit community of which we are all members. I am working now to complete a more nuanced piece that will replace the original article. I hope that will be a step toward restoring trust in me as a journalist and, more importantly, will allow those grieving space to mourn their immense loss.