The Kent County News: A History and an Era, 1950-1980
Gruenburg, Drew Nathan
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This thesis focuses first on the history of the Kent County News, and second on how the paper covered the problems and pressures that an urbanized twentieth century brought to a rural Eastern Shore Maryland county from 1950 to 1980. The Kent County News is a weekly newspaper -- the only local paper for the people of Kent County, Maryland. Its roots are in one of the nation's oldest newspapers, the Chestertown Spy, established in 1793. The history of the Kent County News includes long editorial tenures which spanned both generations of families and myriad changes in technology, content and ownership. The past thirty years brought a particularly large number of changes in content and administration to the Kent County News. This study also gives special attention to how the Kent County News covered three issues: the building of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and other attempts to span the Bay; the advent of zoning regulations in the county; and the possibility of a nuclear power plant being located in the county. Using the complete files of the Kent County News housed in the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, Maryland, every issue of the paper from 1950 to 1980 was examined for information on these three issues. Other material used in this study included interviews with editors of the Kent County News, secondary source material on country weeklies and Maryland, and Maryland state publications. This study has shown that over the years the Kent County News has presented an intimate picture of life in Kent County. In the last thirty years, as the county has faced the pressures of increased urbanization and as the paper experienced changes in design, content and ownership, the paper has become a staunch publicist for the values of small-town life. The paper has also been an educator, and an important force in promoting community consciousness and harmony.