As local coverage wanes, residents become self-taught watchdogs

Kevin Hemstock, the longtime editor of the Kent County News, took his paper’s watchdog role literally.

From his office in downtown Chestertown, Maryland, he had a sweeping view of High Street, the main thoroughfare. One February day in 2010, he looked out his window, saw the three council members from the nearby town of Millington entering a lawyer’s office, and immediately sensed trouble.