editor, The Detroit News
During a career spent almost entirely with a single paper, The Detroit News editor and vice president Martin S. Hayden established himself as a masterful political reporter and one of the most influential journalists in the country. On a weekend in 1956, when other reporters were accompanying the president on a trip to Georgia, Hayden stayed in Washington and broke the news that President Dwight D. Eisenhower would seek a second term. In November 1973, he made the News one of the first pro-Nixon papers to turn against the embattled president in a front-page editorial calling for Nixon’s resignation or impeachment. Esquire magazine once described him as a “power broker,” a label he rejected. “I’m no more a power broker than any other editor,” he said. An independent thinker, he frequently broke the ranks with his contemporaries. While stressing his commitment to a free press, he opposed “shield” laws as going beyond the scope of the Constitution. He also criticized the Washington Post and New York Times for publishing the Pentagon Papers, arguing such behavior could lead to press restrictions. “I believe in press restraint,” he said. “We’re mentioned in the First Amendment by only three words – freedom ‘of the press.’ The whole thing hangs on that. . . . We’re doing fine-up to now.” Hayden died in 1991.