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ABC Host John Quinones Speaks At Brookdale

October 13, 2012 by admin

By Ruby Goldberg

     Interviewing Fidel Castro and exploring Africa with Jane Goodall are just some of the many things seven-time Emmy Award winner and journalist John Quinones has experienced throughout his career.

     All of his trials and tribulations in the news and broadcasting industry have led him to his most current project, ABC's show "What Would You Do?," where he shines light on what he likes to call "everybody's heroes."

     Quinones gave a lecture on Sept. 27 in the Navesink rooms of the Student Life Center. He spoke about his career and some of the personal struggles and hardships that he faced throughout his life.

     The audience was made up of students and members of the community, with many fans of Quinones.

     Tonian Simonelly, a 21-year-old business major from Rumson, watches Quinones' show regularly and said "I like the show a lot. I'm really excited to see what he has to say."

     Quinones, who has been all around the world, and has interviewed numerous subjects, has not lost sight of his journalistic roots. Stressing the importance of journalists in society, Quinones said "They can illuminate justice, and enlighten the darkest corners of the room."

     Being the voice to those who otherwise may not be heard, Quinones has helped bring justice and attention to many issues. The Columbia University graduate may have started small, announcing advertisements for Walgreens on late night radio, but his humble beginnings led to many humanitarian accomplishments.

     Quinones spoke of his first undercover assignment, where he posed as a Mexican citizen trying to cross the border. He proceeded to do so by floating on an inner tube on the Rio Grande and crossing the border into Texas, all while documenting it on film.

     This project won him his first Emmy and also revealed his true passions as a journalist.

     "I knew then, these are the kinds of stories that I wanna tell," said Quinones.

     Quinones played a clip of his show, "What Would You Do?" for the audience.

     The premise of this particular clip involved a homeless man being brought into a restaurant where he would ultimately be denied service.

     All of the scenarios on the show are played out by actors; however the public is unaware that it is staged. It is then up to the public to make a decision in a pressing social situation.

     Quinones reveals the secret at some point during the show and surprises the unknowing participants. "We're not out to make people look bad...It restores faith in humanity," said Quinones.

     Quinones gave the audience a glimpse into his past, discussing his childhood years.

     "People have no idea the long journey I've taken," said Quinones.

     Quinones grew up in San Antonio, Texas, where he lived in a poor household.

     "We knew we were poor," Quinones said. He grew up not knowing how to speak English, and often times was ridiculed and penalized for this. He reminisced about early memories of working on a farm picking crops and how he realized that "I didn't want to do that for the rest of my life...I wanted to be a reporter."

     Quinones has filmed episodes of his show in New Jersey. One audience member, and Brookdale student, is an employee for a business that is highlighted on the show.

     "My boss was on the most recent episode of  'What Would You Do?'...It was about sexual harassment and it was very entertaining and inspiring to see his reaction," said Brianne Jiordano, a 21-year-old business marketing major from Point Pleasant.

     Peter Willever, a 20-year-old fashion merchandising major from Point Pleasant was inspired by Quinones, "John Quinones was a pure genius and a pure inspirational leader, and it was great to see someone who was so dedicated to using his journalistic abilities to give others a voice."

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