Broadcast journalist John Quiñones discusses path to success

Autumn Sanders

The Center for Mexican American Studies and the Mexican American Studies program hosted the Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff with a talk from John Quiñones, a broadcast journalist and current host of ABC’s hidden camera show “What Would You Do?”

Quiñones detailed his journey from a child living in poverty in San Antonio to his extensive career in broadcast journalism.

“They would say, ‘That’s great, John, that you have the dream of being a television reporter someday, but maybe you should try woodshop or metalwork,’” Quiñones said. “They judged me by the color of my skin and the accent in my mouth.”

He told stories of his time as a migrant worker in San Antonio and as a young minority professional.

“I’ll never forget being on my knees at six in the morning, a young Latino boy looking out over a tomato field at my work for the day,” Quiñones said. “Thirty-five cents per bushel. I’d pick 100.”

Quiñones also highlighted his experiences doing investigative work in Mexico to expose the plights of Mexican immigrants.

“The power of that camera and that light when used in the right way is amazing,” Quiñones said.

Several students, including those not of Hispanic descent, said the talk hit home.

“I’m non-Hispanic, but students can get a ton from this event, like how to persevere in their career no matter what that is and how to never give up. It was very educational,” journalism freshman
Callie Blake said.

Hispanic Heritage Month aims to reach students of all ethnic backgrounds and teach them not only how to be Latino/a professionals but how to be respectful of Latinos in the workplace.

“The purpose of Hispanic Heritage Month is to highlight the contribution that Mexican-Americans have made in all aspects of the community and the United States,” CMAS director John González said. “The demographic changes in the state will mean that if the professionals are not Latino themselves, they will be serving Latinos, so the idea behind this kind of programming is to not only reach Latino students who will become Latino professionals but also to reach out to any student who will be or have Latinos in their professional career.”

Quiñones’ talk is the first of many events the CMA is hosting throughout the month of October. The rest of the events can be found on the CMA website.