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John Quinones

Broadcast Journalist & Host of What Would You Do?


Every day is full of what would you do moments. They can be as simple as considering whether or not to hold the door open for a stranger, or they can be as complicated as deciding your next move when faced with the discrimination or mistreatment of another. We've all been there. In Emmy award winning anchor – John Quiñones’ new book, What Would You Do? Words of Wisdom about Doing the Right Thing, John forces all of us to take a good look in the mirror, holding it up not only to ourselves, but to the nation as well. What do we do when we witness injustice, racism, bullying – as an individual…as a nation? Do we step in or, do we step aside?

John Quiñones is the Emmy award-winning co-anchor of ABC newsmagazine Primetime and has been with the network nearly 30 years. He is the sole anchor of the Primetime series What Would You Do?, one of the highest rated newsmagazine franchises in recent years. During his tenure, he has reported extensively for ABC News, predominantly serving as a correspondent for Primetime and 20/20. In 2010, Quiñones was the first reporter out of the 2,000 journalists who covered the Chilean Mining Disaster to get an exclusive interview with one of the survivors. His work for What Would You Do? captures the way people react when confronted with dilemmas that compel them to either take action or walk away. To that end, he has also followed would-be Mexican immigrants attempting to cross into the US via the deadly-infamous route known as "The Devil's Highway," as well as other investigative endeavors – indicative of the understanding his heritage allows. Previously, Quiñones anchored the critically acclaimed ABC News special Latin Beat, which focused on the wave of Latin talent sweeping the US, the impact of the recent population explosion, and how it will affect the nation as a whole.

As an Emmy award-winning and celebrated anchor, Quiñones is about as polished as a speaker could be. With a foundation in real poverty and a real understanding of the challenges of immigration and integration, John is received as an inspiration and an example of what we can all be – regardless of our roots or station. John offers answers, anecdotes, and personal examples of how to even approach the question of what to do, how to formulate a plan of action once you decide what to do, and how to see it through to fruition.

Having grown up in a poor family of migrant workers to eventually become ABC's first Latino correspondent and a seven-time Emmy Award winner, Quiñones shares his powerful story with audiences around the country, encouraging them to pursue their dreams regardless of socioeconomic barriers, emphasizing the role education played in his own success, captivating and inspiring audiences to strive for their goals, and challenging his audience with the all-important question of what would you do to achieve them?


  • Anchor of What Would You Do? one of the highest-rated newsmagazine franchises of recent years. During his 25 year tenure at ABC News, he has reported extensively for all programs and platforms and served as anchor of Primetime.
  • Anchored a critically acclaimed ABC News special entitled Latin Beat.
  • He also contributed reports to ABC News' unprecedented 24-hour, live, global Millennium broadcast, 20/20 and World News Tonight.
  • Awarded: George Foster Peabody Award, Quiñones has won seven national Emmy Awards for his Primetime Live, Burning Questions and 20/20 work. He was awarded an Emmy for his coverage of the Congo's virgin rainforest, which also won the Ark Trust Wildlife Award, and in 1990 he received an Emmy for "Window in the Past," a look at the Yanomamo Indians. He received a National Emmy Award for his work on the ABC documentary Burning Questions—The Poisoning of America, which aired in September 1988 and was also honored with a World Hunger Media Award and a Citation from the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards for "To Save the Children," his 1990 report on the homeless children of Bogota. Among his other prestigious awards are the First Prize in International Reporting and Robert F. Kennedy Prize for his piece on Modern Slavery -- Children Sugar Cane Cutters in the Dominican Republic.
  • Joined ABC News in June 1982 as a general assignment correspondent based in Miami, providing reports for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and other ABC News broadcasts. He was one of the few American journalists reporting from Panama City during the U.S. invasion in December 1989.
  • Prior to joining ABC News he was a reporter with WBBM-TV in Chicago. He won two Emmy Awards for his 1980 reporting on the plight of undocumented workers from Mexico. From 1975 to 1978, he was news editor at KTRH radio in Houston, Texas. During that period, he also was an anchor-reporter for KPRC-TV.
  • Education: BA speech communications from St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas - Master's from the Columbia School of Journalism.


What Would You Do? Words of Wisdom about Doing the Right Thing

As creator and host of the critically-acclaimed and highly-rated ABC hidden camera show, “What Would You Do?”, John Quiñones forces all of us to take a close look in the mirror. What do we do when we witness injustice, racism, bullying? Do we step in or, do we step away? In his new book, What Would You Do?: Words of Wisdom About Doing the Right Thing, Quiñones - who has been called, “the personification of the moral compass” - takes us behind the scenes of the show and shares stories from the many parts of his colorful life: from his humble beginnings in the barrios of San Antonio, Texas to his amazing career as a network journalist.

From the Barrio to Network Television: The Power of Never Taking "No" for an Answer

What do you do when life gives you green bean sandwiches? John Quiñones grew up in poverty, the son of a gardener. He spoke no English when entered the first grade of public school. He shined shoes on the streets of San Antonio and harvested crops with his family as a migrant farmworker. He’s never forgotten the day his family ran out of food and, had to survive on a gallon can of green beans and a loaf of bread. It was hardship and hunger, Quiñones says, that gave him the determination to turn disadvantages into assets. Despite the negative messages that society often lobbed his way, he relentlessly pursued his dream to become a television journalist - and simply, never took “no” for an answer. And his dream…it came true.

What Would You Do? Changing Ethics in America

John Quinones, the host and creator of the highly-rated ABC show, What Would You Do? has held up a mirror to American ethical behavior for almost a decade. When we witness something disturbing: someone being discriminated against because of the color of their skin or, the accent in their voice, a child is being bullied by his classmates, an employer refuses to hire someone because of their sex, do we speak out on their behalf or, do we remain silent? With hidden cameras, John has staged almost 500 different scenarios. The results can be heart-breaking but, in virtually every scenario, there is an everyday hero who steps in and, restores our faith in humanity. Do men come to the rescue as often as women? How do children react? How have our morals changed in the years since John began shining his light on ethics in America? His findings are fascinating.

A 20/20 Vision of Hispanic America

In this riveting speech, ABC News anchor John Quiñones shares his vision of Hispanic America, sharing stories from his life and career, including how he grew up in a poor family of migrant workers, got his big break with ABC as their first Latino correspondent, and later went on to report on a number of national and global issues. By weaving in video clips from stories that he has personally reported on over the years, Quiñones drives home his message of perseverance, teaching audiences that success knows no color or socioeconomic status; everyone can succeed and thrive.

Quiñones will customize his remarks, focusing on the issues surrounding Hispanic America that most interest your organization. Contact APB for more information.

The Power of Education

In this fascinating speech, John Quiñones shares his story of growing up in the barrio - poor and the child of migrant farm workers. Although Quiñones could not speak a word of English when he entered the first grade, his problems only grew worse as his teachers and school counselors in San Antonio insisted on railroading him through vocational programs like auto mechanics, wood shop, and metal shop - never, ever believing that he could be college material. But, when Quiñones reached high school, he met an English teacher who saw something in him and he entered the federal program Upward Bound, which was the beginning of his personal success story. Quiñones offers a message of overcoming the odds, believing in yourself, working hard to achieve goals, and never taking "no" for an answer in this speech.

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