The Border Belt Independent won eight awards at the North Carolina Press Association’s annual ceremony on Thursday.
Editor Sarah Nagem, reporter Ivey Schofield and publisher Les High won individual awards.
In addition, Nagem won first place for Media and the Law Awards of Excellence, which is handed down by the N.C. Bar Association, for her story titled, “As North Carolina courts work through backlog, some counties don’t have enough lawyers.”
The BBI won four other first-place awards in the online division:
- Nagem won first place in the Education category: How a high school dropout is leading a rural NC community college through major growth
- Nagem won first place in the City, County Government Reporting category: Bladen County, shrinking but hopeful, creates a plan for its future
- Schofield, who left the BBI in June to attend law school, won first place in the Feature category: Raised to be a leader, Curtis Hill advocates for racial equity in Columbus County
- Schofield and Nagem won first place in the Breaking News Coverage category: NC sheriff resigns, again. ‘Tip of the iceberg,’ DA says of investigations
The BBI took home one second-place award in the online division:
- Nagem and Keem Grady won second place in the Multimedia Project category for a project that was co-published with The Assembly: He occupied an NC newspaper 35 years ago to protest corruption. Now he has more to say
The BBI took home two third-place awards in the online division:
- High won third-place in the General News Photography Category: After sheriff resigns, Black residents say racism is part of life in Columbus County
- Nagem won third-place in the Election/Political Reporting Category: He was convicted of a crime at 18. Now he says he should get to run for sheriff in NC
Judging was based on entries published between March 1, 2022, and March 4, 2023.
The North Carolina Press Association, which is celebrating its 150th year, represents most community and daily newspapers across the state, as well as a growing number of online-only news organizations.