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John Quiñones: 1952—: Broadcast Journalist

Came From The Barrio

John Manuel Quiñones was born on May 23, 1952, in San Antonio, Texas, the son of Bruno and Maria Quiñones. Although a fifth-generation San Antonian, Quiñones did not learn English until he started school at age six. His tough, Spanish-speaking neighborhood was rife with gangs and drugs. For many years his father worked as a janitor at the high school that he attended and school counselors tried to steer Quiñones and his fellow Hispanics toward lives of manual labor. However, in "My Own Experience: The Latino Experience Through My Eyes," Quiñones quoted his father as saying: "I asked you, do you think it's good for you to be working hard like I do. And you said, 'No, I'm going to school.'" It was during high school that Quiñones resolved to overcome Hispanic stereotyping and pursue a career in journalism. An Upward Bound program at St. Mary's University in San Antonio helped prepare him for college-level work.

While attending St. Mary's University in 1973, Quiñones began working as a reporter and announcer at KTSA-Radio. He continued on there after graduating in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in speech communications. Between 1975 and 1978 Quiñones was a reporter and news editor at KTRH-Radio in Houston, as well as a reporter and anchor at KPRC-TV. In 1979 he earned his master's degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism.

Quiñones began his rise to prominence as a reporter at WBBM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Chicago. Beginning in 1979 he covered neighborhood and local news, as well as stories of national and international significance. His 1980 documentary series about the plight of undocumented immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico won two local Emmy awards. Other major Quiñones reports included the Cuban boat lift of 1980 and the Haitian boat people of 1982.

At a Glance . . .

Born John Manuel Quiñones on May 23, 1952, in San Antonio, TX; son of Maria and Bruno Quiñones. Education: St. Mary's University, BA, 1974; Columbia School of Journalism, MS, 1979.

Career: KTSA-Radio, San Antonio, reporter, announcer, 1973-75; KTRH-Radio, Houston, reporter, news editor, 1975-78; KPRC-TV, Houston, anchor-reporter, 1975-78; WBBM-TV, Chicago, reporter, 1979-82; ABC News, network correspondent, 1982–; Discovery News, reporter, 1997; 20/20 Downtown, host, 1999–.

Memberships: National Hispanic Journalists Association.

Awards: Two local Emmy Awards, Chicago; six national Emmy Awards; citation, first place international category, Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, 1991; World Hunger Media Award; two Gabriel Awards; Overseas Press Club of America, Eric and Amy Burger Award for Best Reporting from Abroad; Ark Trust Wildlife Award; ALMA Award, National Council of La Raza , 2000.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Jan Peck Biography - Personal to David Randall (1972–) Biography - PersonalJohn Quiñones: 1952—: Broadcast Journalist Biography - Came From The Barrio, Moved To Abc, Reported For Primetime Live, Became News Show Host