Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Honored March, 1987

John Hightower

John Hightower came to Santa Fe late in life, bringing his global reputation as a journalist. As a reporter for the Associated Press wire service, he covered all the major events of the post World War II era:

the founding of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, the Japanese Peace conference, the North Atlantic Treaty negotiations, the Kennedy-Khruschev summit of 1961. Not bad for a coal miner's son from Tennessee. But no one who knew him was surprised at his trajectory.

Born in 1909 in Coal Creek, Tennessee, John attended Knoxville public schools and the University of Tennesee. He left after two years to work as a reporter for the Knoxville News Sentinel. At the Associated Press in Nashville, from 1933, he was quickly promoted to Tennessee state editor. In 1936 his coverage of Democratic and Republican national conventions caught the attention of the Washington AP Bureau Chief, who brought the young newsman to Washington. John became known for in depth, explanatory-interpretive reporting.