About the Border Belt Independent

Corrections, clarifications and contact information

We work hard to make sure our stories are factual and truthful, but sometimes mistakes happen.

Our policy is to correct stories promptly and openly. If we make an error, we will fix the story and note at the bottom of the page what has been corrected.

We will make corrections for mistakes and clarifications for vague or potentially misleading information.

If you think we’ve made an error or information in a story needs clarifying, email editor Sarah Nagem at sarahnagem11@gmail.com, sarahnagem@borderbelt.org or publisher leshigh@borderbelt.org, or reach us by phone or text at 910-640-7252. You can also message us on Facebook.

More about us

The Border Belt Independent is a North Carolina nonprofit corporation founded in April, 2021 that is almost solely funded by a three-year, $495,000 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust of North Carolina. The North Carolina Local News Lab provided a $10,000 grant to fund a feasibility study before the BBI was founded. The trust nor other funders have influence on editorial decisions. The Border Belt Independent will seek other grants in the future to support journalism initiatives.

The North Carolina Press Foundation, a 501-C-3, is the fiscal sponsor of the Border Belt Independent.

Publisher and founder Les High is a lifelong journalist who spent his career at his family’s newspaper, The News Reporter, in Whiteville, N.C., until the family sold it in August, 2021.

We serve no cause other than to report the truth fairly and without bias for the public good. We publish stories at borderbelt.org and also provide local newspapers in our primary coverage with these stories at no cost. The counties served are: Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties.

Transparency policies

The Border Belt Independent strives to avoid conflicts of interest. If a staff member or the publisher is involved in a capacity that could be perceived to be a conflict, we will share the information at the conclusion of the story.

We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News.

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.

Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $5,000 or more per year. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN’s membership standards.


Board of Directors
Les High, President 

Advisory Board
Stuart Rogers, Digital media consultant 
Penny Abernathy Professor, Northwestern Medill School of Journalism 
Jamie Litty, Professor, UNC Pembroke journalism instructor 
Zachary Young, editor, UNC Pembroke student newspaper, Pine Straw 
Denise Ward, publisher, Southeast NC Region, Champion Newspapers 

2021 Tax Return

View our 2021 Tax Return