Oscar King Davis covered the Haywood trial as senior correspondent for the New York Times.  His extensive reporting on the trial was attacked by the labor and Socialist press, who accused him of having been bought by capitalist interest. Although Davis made no secret of his belief in Haywood's guilt, he insisted years later in his autobiography that his trial reporting was honest, and it probably was. Davis also revealed, years after the trial, that a widely credited rumor circulating in the press corps that the defense had bribed at least one of the Haywood jurors.

Davis had been in the newspaper business since 1888, accompanying Dewey to Manila, covering the Boxer Rebellion, the Russo-Japanese War, and America's "flying squadron" during the Spanish-American War. His writing style appears overwrought by contemporary standards, but was widely admired at the time.

Davis and other members of the elite press corps were treated as celebrities by Boise residents, and were the recipients of an overwhelming number of inviations to social gatherings. Davis, a gregarious man, enjoyed the attention. Over the course of the trial, Davis became a close friend of the trial judge, Fremont Wood, accompanying him on four weekend flyfishing outings. His campfire conversations with the judge generally avoided the subject of the Haywood trial, but on at least one occasion Wood confided in Davis his belief in Haywood's guilt.

Davis was particularly facinated with defense attorney Clarence Darrow. He described Darrow as "a master of invective, vituperation, denunciation, humor, pathos, and all the other arts of the orator, except argument."