John M. Higgins, longtime journalist and business editor of Broadcasting &Cable Magazine, died Monday of a heart attack in a hospital in New Jersey. He was 45.
Higgins, who joined B&C in 1997 after working at Multichannel News, was known as a talented and tough-as-nails reporter. He was renowned in the media industry he covered for his knowledge of the business and for his tenacity.
“They broke the mold with John Higgins,” said Mark Robichaux, executive editor at B&C. “He was a great reporter and an even better friend. I’ll miss him.”
“He was bigger than life," said publisher Larry Oliver. “Anyone who met John Higgins always had a story about him.”
But beneath his tough exterior, Higgins was a gentle soul with a rapier wit who nurtured young reporters and served meals to the emergency workers after 9/11.
“He knew everything and knew everybody,” says PJ Bednarski, executive editor. “And if he didn’t, he would in 10 minutes. He drove us crazy, and he made this magazine great.”
Higgins was almost universally liked and respected by the executives he covered. "He was a warm guy and very smart underneath the journalist's skeptical exterior," said Jeff Bewkes, president and COO of Time Warner. "We will miss him. He got a lot of things right and was decent about what he covered, even the bad things."
"I thought he was a terrific journalist," said former FCC Chairman Richard Wiley, one of Washington's mostly highly respected and influential attorneys. "There was a certain edge to his writing that was appropriate. He got right to the point. He was a keen analyst and I will really miss reading his material. I'm shocked and saddened by his passing." Max Robins, B&C editor in chief, said that one of the attractions of joining B&C was Higgins’ reputation. His stories and scoops often bested not only the trade competition but major papers such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. "John Higgins was the heart and soul" of Broadcasting & Cable, said Robins. “It was a privilege working with him.”
Higgins is survived by his wife, Deborah Marrone, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission.
A funeral mass for John M. Higgins will be held for family and close friends at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 404 Hudson St., Hoboken, New Jersey, on Saturday, Nov.25, at 12:00 p.m. There will not be a wake.
A memorial service in John's honor will be held in the coming weeks in New York City -- details to be announced.
Donations should be sent to Hoboken Homeless Shelter, 300 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken, NJ, 07030, or to St. Peter and Paul church.