The Island Free Press is the first and only online newspaper serving both Hatteras and Ocracoke islands’ locals and visitors.
made its debut on Sept. 5, 2007 and has grown since then in coverage,
content, and popularity with readers on and off the islands. The
mission of The Island Free Press is to cover the people, the issues,
and the happenings that are constantly shaping our Hatteras and
Free Press covers and posts the news as it happens, and its writers
explain the past, examine the present, and explore the future for
residents and visitors alike. Writers familiar to island readers cover
everything from recreation to education, from policies to politics, and
Shooting the Breeze Blog puts all this in perspective.
The goal of
The Island Free Press is not to just provide more information about the
islands, but to encourage a better conversation about the issues that
face islanders and visitors every day. We believe that the extensive,
interesting, and varied content in our newspaper will serve our
communities and at the same time attract the wide cross-section of
readers that our advertisers want to reach.
Irene Nolan was
the founder, co-owner and editor of The Island Free Press. She visited
Hatteras Island for more than 35 years before moving in 1991. Prior to
coming to the island, she was a veteran journalist who spent 22 years
as a reporter and editor at The Courier-Journal, a statewide newspaper
based in Louisville, Ky. Irene was the managing editor of the newspaper
for the last five years of her tenure there, and during that time, the
newspaper staff won a Pulitzer Prize under her leadership.
Irene brought her groundbreaking talents to the Outer Banks when she
moved to the island, and she quickly sculpted the Island Breeze into
one of the premiere news periodicals in the region. She was editor of
the Island Breeze for 16 years before breaking new ground once again by
creating the Island Free Press in 2007, the first online newspaper on
the Outer Banks.
Irene passed away on March 3, 2017 and will be deeply missed by her readers, family and friends.
Donna Barnett is
the owner, publisher and webmaster of The Island Free Press. A
Richmond, Va., native, she has been visiting Hatteras Island all of her
life and spent her childhood summers in Salvo. After attending college,
she spent 10 years as a paralegal in Richmond and moved to Hatteras in
1997, shortly before her marriage to Hatteras native Charlie Barnett.
They live in Hatteras village with their daughter
Hannah. Once on the island, Donna worked as a graphic designer
for The Island Breeze for 10 years before starting the The Island Free
Press with co-founder Irene Nolan. Donna is also
active in her church, community organizations and is Vice President of
the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Joy Crist is
the editor of The Island Free Press. She grew up in western
Massachusetts and graduated from North Carolina State University with a
degree in English and a concentration in language, writing and editing.
She has been a Hatteras Island resident since 1998 and has worked in
marketing and information technology. She worked with Irene Nolan for
the Island Breeze for years, and joined the Island Free Press team when
the newspaper was started in September 2007. Her work has also appeared
in a number of regional Outer Banks websites and publications.
Joy currently lives in Avon with her dog, multiple cats, and
long-suffering but extremely gracious husband. When she’s not writing,
Joy can be found obsessively scouring the beach for seashells or
traveling to the mountains to see what life is like above sea level.
can be reached at [email protected].
Nicole Fairbanks is
an advertising sales representative. She was born and raised in
Virginia Beach and graduated from Virginia Wesleyan College. After four
years in banking and finance, she moved to Hatteras Island in
1996 after many years of "chasing the surf" here. She has owned a dive
shop and boat and worked in sales for The Outer Banks Explorer Southern
edition. She is active in the community, including the schools and Girl
Scouts. She and her husband, John, a retired Coast Guardsman, live in Frisco
with their four children. She can be reached at [email protected].
Rhonda Roughton is
an advertising sales representative as well as a writer. She was
born on Hatteras Island but graduated high school in Chesapeake,
Virginia. She moved back in 1990. She has worked in
advertising sales for 7 years. She wrote a column called
“Kinnakeet” for the Hatteras Monitor for 10 years and is now writing
“Kinnakeet Home” for The Island Free Press. Kinnakeet Home blogs
are about island living and will concentrate on history as well as
local culture and traditions. She can be reached at [email protected].
Writers | Photographers