During The Hannah Graham Investigation, Coy Barefoot Was The Face Of Charlottesville, Va Journalism


Editor’s Note: This is part three in a four part series.

When Hannah Graham went missing in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 13, 2014 near what was then Tempo Restaurant on The Charlottesville Downtown Mall, no one knew how large this story would become.

The Graham murder and Jesse Leeroy Matthew, Jr’s arrest by the FBI while on the lam on a beach in Galveston County, Texas captivated the nation and monopolized airtime on TV networks like CNN, Fox News and CBS News while commanding print space in the Washington Post, The New York Times and the USA TODAY.

When forensics linked Jesse Leeroy Matthew, Jr to Morgan Harrington’s abduction and murder, the national news went rabid and swarmed to Charlottesville like millennials do with Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria on a Friday night.

During the Graham investigation, Charlottesville looked to Coy Steven Barefoot to “break the news” and inform the community on story developments. Barefoot, an award-winning writer, who first learned the craft of journalism at the C-VILLE Weekly under Editor/Co-Owner Hawes Spencer in the early 1990’s, offered daily reports and updates on his Facebook page. Barefoot also contributed to Wolf Blitzer’s TV show on CNN.

“Chasing a story is one of the most exciting things you can ever do,” Barefoot said on The I Love CVille Show powered by Intrastate Inc.. “It takes smarts, creativity, an understanding you have to move fast, but you have to be right. There’s nothing like it.”

Barefoot, who today is the executive director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, said he would cover the Graham story around the clock.

“When I was doing the reporting for CNN,” Barefoot said, “I would spend an entire day doing research, emails, phone calls, driving all over town, driving into [Albemarle] County, an entire day to do four minutes on Wolf Blitzer at night.”

In part 3 of our four part series, Barefoot also offers his “State of The Union” on journalism in Charlottesville, Virginia. He discusses his approach to an investigative story and how we are missing a true newspaper of record in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2018.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy Is Charlottesville, Virginia A Better Place Today Than It Was 30 Years Ago? and Barefoot Will Help Rebrand Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society; New CVille Museum Targeted

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CEO Jerry Miller

Jerry Miller is the CEO of The Miller Organization, The I Love CVille Network, VMV Brands, The Blue Ridge Venture Fund, I Love CVille Real Estate and Charlottesville Business Brokers which are all headquartered in Downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. Jerry is passionate about the #ShopLocal movement and supporting locally-owned businesses. Get to know Jerry at JerryMillerNow.com.