News from the Bush School

ABC News John Quiñones Speaks to Bush School about Diversity

November 06, 2017

John Quiñones posing with a group of Bush School students


ABC News veteran reporter John Quiñones visited the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service on October 12 as part of the School’s diversity/inclusion initiative.

During his day at the School, Quinones met with a class taught by Dr. Frank Ashley, executive associate dean, and with a group of students at a brown bag lunch.  An evening session was offered for faculty, staff, and students of the Bush School as well as Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Mays Business School, and Education and Human Development.

A native Texan from San Antonio, Quiñones worked at several Houston radio and television stations early in his career.  He graduated from St. Mary’s University and later earned a master of journalism degree from Columbia University. In 1982, Quiñones started as a general assignment correspondent with ABC News based in Miami. He was a co-anchor of the ABC News program Primetime and now hosts What Would You Do? This program features actors acting out scenes of conflict or illegal activity in public settings while hidden cameras record the scene. The focus of the program is whether or not bystanders intervene and how. He also reports for all ABC News programs, including 20/20, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, and Nightline.

In his meeting with Bush School students, Quiñones outlined the path that led him to his career.

“I’m the poster child for diversity and inclusion,” Quiñones said, as he described growing up in the barrio of San Antonio. He didn’t speak English until he was six and worked with his family as a migrant farm worker picking cherries in Michigan.

“We all learned the value of family coming together,” said Quiñones. “We literally pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps.”

John Quiñones speaking to a Bush School student in a classroom

 

Quiñones knew he wanted to be a journalist by the time he was in high school, so he worked for the school paper and signed up for drama classes and high school plays to lose his accent, which he knew was essential to his chosen career.

“Getting an internship at a local station was a great start,” Quiñones said. “I encourage students to use internships to get a foot in the door for your chosen career,” he added. He also cites as helpful the civil rights movement in San Antonio, when stations began hiring Hispanic employees to improve their minority hiring record.

Diversity in the Workforce

Quiñones said one of his first major stories demonstrated how important workforce diversity is. He went undercover, posing as a Mexican citizen trying to get into the US. There he met a “coyote,” who sold him a fake birth certificate and social security number. The coyote put him on an inner tube and floated him across the Rio Grande. The story won an Emmy for CBS, and Quiñones says only a Hispanic could have done that story. 

“We’re delighted to have John Quiñones at the Bush School, and know that his interactions with our students and others across the campus will help their understanding of the need for greater diversity and more inclusion in our society,” said Dr. Ashley.