Former Press-Enterprise editor, publisher
A Harvard Law School graduate, Hays passed the bar in 1946 but never practiced law: The same year, he became an assistant editor at what became the Press-Enterprise under his father, Howard H Hays Sr., who was editor and co-owner.
Hays became editor in 1949.
During his 51 years at the newspaper, he oversaw the publication of a series of more than 100 articles that exposed malpractice in the conservatorship program for Agua Caliente Indians in Palm Springs. The articles, along with related editorials, earned the paper the Pulitzer Prize for meritorious public service in 1968.
In 1984, his newspaper's crusade for openness in government resulted in the Supreme Court ruling unanimously that the public has a presumptive right to observe jury selection in criminal trial proceedings. And, in 1986, the high court ruled 7 to 2 that the public has a right to view pretrial hearings in criminal cases.
Hays was born in Chicago on June 2, 1917, and moved with his family to Riverside in 1924. He graduated from Stanford University in 1939 and earned his law degree in 1942. During World War II, he spent several years as a special agent for the FBI.
Hays, who moved to St. Louis after retiring as company chairman when his family sold the Press-Enterprise in 1997, served on the boards of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Pulitzer Prize and the Associated Press.
—Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports