Justin Smith addresses staff of The News Reporter Friday afternoon. To his right is Stuart Rogers. To his left are Les High and Becky High. Staff photo by Grant Merritt.

Columbus County’s newspaper of record turns a new page Aug. 1, 2021, as Justin Smith, editor since 2018, becomes publisher as well. Smith has purchased the 125-year-old company from Les High and Stuart High Rogers.

The transaction “will allow The News Reporter to remain in local hands,” High said. “And that’s critical. Columbus County will have a local paper for years to come.”