He was a migrant farmer and the first in his family to go to college.
His work has helped save children around the world.
His face is familiar to many TV watchers, but his journey to network journalism may not be as well known.
John Quinones, ABC journalist of “20/20” and “Primetime” fame, spoke today to hundreds of students, faculty and community members at the Ninth Annual Diversity Conference at The College at Brockport (State University of New York). He told them that he wanted them to take one thing from what he said:
“If I could make it to network television … then anything is possible,” he said.
After hearing the story of his life and career, it is difficult not to believe him.
He spoke of his upbringing and the hard work it took to make it to the network. He said his goal was to be a good journalist and “to tell stories that reflected the Latino population of San Antonio.”
“I was a good reporter who just happened to be Hispanic,” he said.
Being fluent in Spanish helped him get a network job at ABC reporting in Central America. But he still had to work his way up the network and prove himself worthy of prime time. Along the way he has raised public awareness about poverty and injustices all over the world.
He noted that we all have biases, and we need to recognize them.
He also said that TV news is getting worse, not better, when it comes to diversity. He thinks that perhaps if more people of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds were producers and news executives, that could change.
He urged students to work hard and not listen to those who tell them that they cannot do it.
“It’s all about shining the light on the darkest corners of the world.”
It’s difficult not to be inspired by the words and life of John Quinones.