Tuesday, March 26, 2013

TxDLA Keynote - John Quinones

Notes from Keynote session at TxDLA Conference

Keynote Speaker: John Quinones, Co-anchor of ABC's "Primetime"

"From Migrant Farmworker to Network Television Anchorman"

John Quinones serves as a correspondent for "What Would You Do"

It's all about Distance Learning today.
When John started in news, he had to attend meetings, etc in person; Now a lot is done via Skype.
He currently records narrations on his "mactop" and it sounds just as good.
Social media is a two way street for communcation.
Social media changed news - used to be reporters telling stories - now we all tell stories.

John was born in the poor neighborhoods of San Antonio.
His dad was a janitor and mother was a housekeeper.
He couldn't speak English growing up.
There wasn't any type of Bilingual Education in those days.
His teachers couldn't speak Spanish.
His father lost his job and they all became migrant farm workers.
They picked cherries for 75 cents a bucket.
Being a migrant worker taught him the lesson of having a family working together.
His father asked, "Do you want to do this all your life? or Do want to get an education?"
The Upward Bound Program helped him. He attended remedial classes on Saturday through Upward Bound.

He always wanted to be a reporter.
He started off by joining drama class in school.
This helped him come out of his shell because he was extrememly shy.
He wanted to attend college but his teachers advised him to look at vocational programs, with the exception of one teacher who pushed him towards journalism. That was the one teacher who believed in him.

He worked 3 jobs during college.
At 18, he got an internship for a country radio station. He worked for $2.00 an hour.
His would feed the horses at the radio station but was able to practice at the recording studio at night.
He then proceded to do commercial tasks at the radio stations.
On Sunday nights at 2:00 in the morning he got to do the news.
This was a perfect time for him to "mess" up.

He was always told that he couldn't do it and that he wouldn't make it.

He, then won a fellowship to attend a New York broadcasting school and his career took off from there.
His first story was about Immigration.
He posed as a Mexican immigrant trying to cross the border.
He met a smuggler and documented his journey across the Rio Grande.
In Chicago, he got a job as a dishwasher for a restaurant.
He slept in the basement and was never paid for working at the restaurant along with seven other immigrants.
He confronted the owner.
After the story aired on TV, the restaurant was shut down and the workers were granted visas.

"I see journalism as a dark room. The one holding the candle is the journalist. They are the ones who illuminate; who show the light."

He used to get punished for speaking Spanish in school and then in 1995 he got a job for ABC news to be a correspondent in Nicaragua because he could speak Spanish. He found this to be quite ironic.

He worked in Central America for 10 years.
He wanted to work for Primetime and 20/20 and they would never hire him.
However, he wasn't going to give up.
He wanted to do a documentary on children who lived in sewers in Latin America.
He did the documentary with his film crew from a news stations he worked at.
He gave the documentary for PrimeTime to air on TV.
They did and raised millions. It is called "Los Ninos of Los Andes"

"What Would You Do" TV Show
When you see something that is disturbing to you, what do you do?

"Don't worry about talking to the movers and shakers. Talk to the moved and shaken."

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