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By Les High


There’s a line from the Apple TV series Ted Lasso in which Ted is told: “The truth will set you free, but first, it will really piss you off.”

 The truth, however, is hard to come by today.

That’s one of the reasons why we founded the Border Belt Independent in May, and why we need your continued support.

Newsrooms like ours are still producing remarkable stories. Reporters work long hours and endure personal attacks where they are cast as the enemy of the people.

But that doesn’t change our mission.

Our fragile democracy is under attack, and as we have seen, truth is the first casualty.

You can read our outstanding reporting at We also hope you’ll subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking here,, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Border Belt Independent publishes in-depth stories from four southeastern North Carolina counties: Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland. We are particularly attuned to the region’s challenges, such as education, poverty, health, mental health, adverse childhood experiences, race and the economy. Our reporting provides context to issues and highlights the influencers who seek to bring about change.

We have written extensively about the pandemic and the toll COVID-19 has exacted on individuals, families, health care workers, teachers and students. You may have read our recent story about race and racism in Robeson County, controversy over the Confederate monument at the Robeson County courthouse, or escalating home sales in Columbus County.

We accentuate the positive, too, such as the Elizabethtown entrepreneur who opened a thriving winery, distillery and wedding venue complete with emus and donkeys. We have reported how UNC Pembroke is becoming a force in the region, and how Fair Bluff is reinventing itself after two catastrophic floods that nearly destroyed the Lumber River town.

These stories underscore the two primary goals of the Border Belt Center: first, to tell stories that make people’s lives better, and second, to make sure that trusted, local journalism survives.

We care deeply about the people we serve and aren’t afraid of the thought-provoking but sometimes difficult stories that our communities deserve in today’s environment of disinformation. Feel free to reach out to Editor Sarah Nagem at or Publisher Les High at to give us feedback or suggest story ideas.