Senior cable industry executives pay tribute on the passing of veteran industry reporter John Higgins:

Brian Roberts

Chairman and CEO,

Comcast

"We were deeply saddened to learn of John’s passing. He was a witty, insightful reporter who pulled no punches, but was always fair. John was one of a kind, and he will be greatly missed."



Richard Parsons

Chairman and CEO,

Time Warner

"John Higgins was an outstanding journalist and one of the smartest and best informed reporters on our beat. We will miss his fairness, his tenacity and his friendship."



Kyle McSlarrow

President and CEO,

National Cable & Telecommunications Association

"As first among equals in business journalism, John made invaluable contributions to the state of our industry through his insightful accounts of business developments and breaking news, as well as his passion for enterprise reporting. More importantly, as tough as John was, he was fair, and he wrote with great credibility and style. Our industry has suffered a great loss, but John’s legacy of integrity will inspire others, and live on."



Rob Stoddard
SVP, communications and public affairs,
National Cable & Telecommunications Association

"John had attained a rare and enviable status in his career—the ability to be known universally by just one name.  To most of us who were both his sources and his friends, he was just ‘Higgins.’ The one-name thing was perfect, because John was singular in his profession and in life. 

At various times, that one name could invoke fear, dread, joy, and appreciation—and sometimes a mixture of all those things. Knowing that ‘Higgins’ was on the line usually meant someone had just given away one of your most valuable secrets, and that John was about to do the spade work of asking you to confirm or deny his premise—or at least persuade you to provide some information on deep background. 
 
I loved John because he could ask the tough and sometimes irritating questions with the utmost of professionalism during the day—we’d tell our bosses, ‘Oh, that’s just Higgins, he’s always that way’—but immensely enjoyed hanging out with his sources at night, trading information and gossip over drinks or a great meal somewhere. I also admired John, because he was passionate about his job, and he worked like the devil to serve his profession well and with honor.
 
It’s tough in this business to be a hard-nosed, aggressive, impeccably accurate investigative journalist, and make a lot of friends at the same time. John managed to pull it off, because at the end of the day, despite what he might have thought about the behavior of our companies and organizations, he had great human respect for the people he covered. Everyone felt that respect, saw it in his work, and responded in kind. 

I once worked for a chief executive who’d done a great job, but when it came time for him to leave, he wasn’t enthused about talking to a lot of journalists. But we wanted to convey the executive’s thoughts about his time on the job. So we chose to talk to John, because we knew that while he would undoubtedly ask some very hard questions, he’d treat us with respect. It was one of the best decisions in which I was ever involved."



Char Beales

President and CEO,

Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing

"There are a few cable reporters who know how to reach me directly—and do. I looked forward to Higgins’ caller ID. It was a conversation, not an interview. In the end, I probably learned more from him than he from me. He was a consummate reporter, having perfected the art of disarming and the science of follow-up. Or maybe that’s called charm. Either way, not getting his calls will leave a palpable silence."



John Hendricks

Chairman, founder and acting CEO,

Discovery Communications Inc.

"On behalf of Discovery Communications, we all mourn the loss of a true pillar of the media industry. Over many years and many conversations, we came to know John as a tough, fair, honest reporter. He understood our industry better than anybody, and we are honored to count him as a friend. John pushed us to be better and without him around we all will know a little less about what is going on. We’ll miss his biting wit, and his keen intellect. We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Debbie, and his other family members."



Phil Kent

Chairman and CEO,

Turner Broadcasting Sytem, Inc.

"John was smart, honest and fair.  He knew our industry so well that he was often first on big or interesting stories. And he was good company. He was just with us on election night. We will miss him."



David Zaslav

President,

NBC Universal Cable and Domestic TV and New Media Distribution

“John Higgins was probably the best ‘shoe leather’ media journalist I have ever worked with. I would often try to throw him off the scent, but he always knew too much and had a way of knowing when a story didn’t add up. I would often call John on my way into work, just to find out what was going on in the biz. He had that distinctive way of answering his phone with a demonstrative ‘Higgins.’ He was incredibly smart, had a great sense of humor and loved to just dish the dirt. He was very tough when he was on a story, but always fair. He would always give you the chance to give him your side or give him some more information so he could change the feel or tone of the story. The media business lost one of the very best and I will miss talking to my good friend ‘Higgins’ every week.”



Henry Schleiff

President and CEO,

Crown Media Holdings, Inc.

"Higgins was just bigger than life, itself: his intellect was huge, his humor was enormous and his impact on this industry will be timeless, because he will live on in his writing and in our memories, forever. On a personal note, I will miss his feisty humor—and, even more, his wise counsel. Indeed, the irony is that this curmudgeon was not only so respected—but, also, so beloved."



Meredith Wagner

EVP, public affairs and corporate communications,

Lifetime Television

"I was a beneficiary of his gentle side until the day he died. He’s always been a great friend—the kind of guy who was a great shoulder to lean on. He was very close to my whole department at Lifetime. He was more than a colleague, almost like a mascot with us. During 9/11, when we organized all kinds of volunteer activities, Higgins was at a local Italian restaurant downtown, feeding a lot of the rescue workers and serving food, immediately in the aftermath of the attack. He was volunteering all the time and took more shifts than the rest of us combined. When he took his wedding vows, he didn’t say, ‘I John.’ He said, ‘I, Higgins…’ That’s the quintessential John. I can’t tell you how much we’re all going to miss him."



Mark Harrad

SVP, Corporate Communications,

Time Warner Cable

"John Higgins represented the gold standard in business journalism. He delved into subjects with the passion of an investigative reporter, but never lost sight of who his readers were. He specialized in the hard-hitting, insightful question and delivered the balanced and thoroughly researched story.  e always sought to be fair.  He demanded access to those at the top and earned that access through his solid reporting. Glenn Britt, Landel Hobbs, Fred Dressler and so many other senior Time Warner Cable executives who spoke to John frequently, always knew that no matter what the topic, he could be trusted to be fair and accurate. And that afterall, is the hallmark of a great journalist."



Billy Campbell

President,

Discovery Networks, U.S.

"From the familiar and gruff answering of his phone— ‘Higgins’—to his consummate professionalism and deeply held conviction to adhere to the highest journalistic standards, John dug deep, asked the tough questions and wrote substantive, balanced stories. And no matter what, no matter what the conversation, he would end each call with an inquiry about the latest, best restaurant I had sampled. I will miss him."


 
Bill Goodwyn

President, affiliate sales and marketing

Discovery Networks, U.S.

"I will truly miss John’s intelligence, insightfulness, humor and his tremendous skill. He was a great collaborator and friend to all of us."



Annie Howell

SVP, Communications

Discovery Networks, U.S.

“Like all of my colleagues at Discovery who had the pleasure and heartburn of working with Higgins, I am completely devastated by his death.  He was gifted, incisive and fair. And under that rough and completely deceptive exterior was a heart of gold—a guy who could talk hardcore business one minute and must-attend sample sales or fine dining the next. God knows I will miss his superb sense of humor, his sweat-inducing phone calls and—most of all—one of the finest human beings I’ve had the pleasure to know."



Larry Aidem

President and CEO,

Sundance Channel

“I did not know John Higgins as well as the many others who have so eloquently paid tribute to him today (in John’s book, Sundance fell somewhere between ‘Small’ and ‘Petite’). However, I ALWAYS admired John’s dogged reporting and his integrity. The result was a truly unique writing style which was among the best in our business. John was one tough interviewer who sought nothing less than the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. On behalf of all of us at Sundance Channel, heartfelt condolences to John’s family. He will be missed.”



Philippe Dauman

President and CEO,

Viacom

"John Higgins was among the very first and very best reporters to cover the cable industry. He was tenacious, he was honest and he always brought a fresh perspective to every story he went after. We will remember him not only as a courageous and demanding journalist , but also as a warm and supportive colleague. And we will miss him."

The Daily

Subscribe

Doing Good

TDS donated $5000 to the beautification efforts in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Carlsbad

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up