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John Quiñones: 1952—: Broadcast Journalist

Reported And Anchored Latino Specials

Recognizing the growing influence of Hispanic culture on American life, Quiñones was named reporter and anchor for a 1999 ABC News special called The Latin Beat. Having been based in Miami for 15 years, Quiñones was uniquely qualified to present a program that focused on positive aspects of America's Hispanic communities. The program looked at the growing political and economic influence of Hispanics and examined how they are changing America. For example, it showed viewers that although Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnicity in the United States, they are underrepresented in broadcast media. During 1997 Quiñones was one of only five Latino correspondents on the evening television news. It also featured Latin stars who are gaining popularity across the United States and examined the roots of the Latino "cross-over" movement—the music Quiñones had grown up with—including salsa, meringue, and "Tejano," meaning Texan. Quiñones wrote on the ABC website, "The Latin Beat has been the most fun I've had professionally in a long time." The program earned critical acclaim and won Quiñones a 2000 ALMA Award from the National Council of La Raza in the category of Outstanding Correspondent, Anchor and/or Host of a National News Program or Special.

In 1999 Quiñones narrated The Border for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), a two-hour program about the culture and issues facing the border regions of Mexico and the United States. He also contributed to the three-part ABC-Time report, "The New Frontier," which looked at the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement on U.S.-Mexican relations. Quiñones reported from the village of Tulcingo in southern Mexico, from which so many men had emigrated to the United States that only old people and children remained. However the town's standard of living had improved greatly due to millions of dollars sent home from America. In 1999, as a member of the ABC News Crime and Justice team, Quiñones and fellow correspondent Cynthia McFadden reported on "Street Life: Inside America's Gangs." Quiñones provided an inside look at the Latin Kings and their leader King Tone, who was attempting to redirect the gang away from violence.

On January 21, 2000, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings focused on Latinos in America. It was the first evening news broadcast devoted to the Latino community. The program also was available live nationwide on the secondary audio program system. In his report, "My Latino Experience," Quiñones used the story of his own family to examine issues of Latino pride and assimilation. He emphasized the pride Latinos feel in the culture, language, and customs of their countries of origin, and the profound effects of the Latino community on American culture. Quiñones returned to his old high school in San Antonio to observe the changes since the 1960s. He found a Latino generation that was much better adapted to America than his own generation had been. Likewise the rest of America had become more accustomed to Latinos. One student told him: "It makes me proud to see my culture overcome all the oppression that we were put through back in the early sixties and seventies." Others told him that they were of two cultures, "Mexican-American" or "Latina/Mexican-American. It's both, equal." Another said: "All we want is success, to be successful in life and still be true to our culture."

In all, Quiñones has won six national Emmy awards for his work on ABC News programs and specials. His report on the Congo's virgin rainforest won both an Emmy and the Ark Trust Wildlife Award. His report Diamonds and Blood was a finalist for the 2000 network/syndicated television award of the Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc., a grassroots, nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the quality of investigative journalism. For this report on the rebel-controlled Central-African diamond trade, Quiñones was a member of the first American newsmagazine crew to enter Sierra Leone since civil war erupted there. In 2002 Quiñones was nominated for an ALMA award in the category of Outstanding Correspondent or Anchor of a National News Program. Quiñones was scheduled to co-host the 2002 Hispanic Media 100 Awards ceremony. However true to his principles, he withdrew after learning that the ceremony would honor an anti-gay activist.

Selected works


America's Kids: Why They Flunk, ABC, 1988.

Burning Questions, The Poisoning of America, ABC, 1988.

The World is Watching, ABC, 1988.

Only the News That Fits, ABC, 1989.

"Bitter Harvest," PrimeTime Live, ABC, 1991.

The Border, PBS, 1999.

The Latin Beat, ABC, 1999.

"Childhood of Shame," 20/20 Downtown, ABC, 2000.

(With David Fitzpatrick, Thomas E. Goldstone, David Ward, and Jane Hartney) Diamonds and Blood, ABC, 2000.

"My Latino Experience," World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, ABC, 2000.

"Vanished: The Mystery of the Missing Girls," 20/20 Downtown, ABC, 2002.


"The Latin Beat," ABCNEWS.com, http://abcnews. go.com/onair/dailynews/sp990907_latinbeat.html (March 30, 2003).

"My Own Experience: The Latino Experience Through My Eyes," ABCNEWS.com, http://abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsTonight/wnt_00012111_Quiñones_features.html (April 20, 2003).



Machamer, Gene, Hispanic American Profiles, Ballantine Books, 1996, p. 78.


USA Today, October 4, 1999, p. D3.


"John Quiñones: ABCNEWS Correspondent, Downtown Anchor," ABCNEWS.com, http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/2020/Quiñones_john_bio2020downtown.html (April 23, 2003).

"My Own Experience: The Latino Experience Through My Eyes," ABCNEWS.com, http://abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsTonight/wnt_00012111_Quiñones_features.html (April 20, 2003).

—Margaret Alic

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