On Saturday Oct. 5, as part of the Homecoming Committee’s commitment to bring in unique in interesting speakers; John Quiñones host of ABC Primetime’s What Would You Do? was invited to answer a tough question: What is wrong with ethics in America today?
Though not a scholar of the field, Quiñones was able to bring insights into some of the moral issues he felt are plaguing the country. This comes from the very nature of his show, which works to set up different situations (staged by actors) and film it using hidden cameras to see how different people react to what is happening around them. These scenarios can range from events such as someone trying to steal a bike, or a homeless man being harassed, or even someone falling unconscious at a train station.
Quiñones gave a passionate talk about his life, growing from a poor child with a thick accent to working at a radio station and go off to college. Working his way up the ladder from network to network, Quiñones eventually found himself spending ten years covering conflicts in Central America, due to his grasp of the Spanish language and ability to connect with the local population. Covering horrifying stories from all around the world, Quiñones gained a name from life changing stories and finding ways to help people, and thus gained his spot on Primetime.
After hosting his show for a few years and seeing all the different reactions of average people, Quiñones observed that though there was always at least one person willing to do the right thing, there were many more who would decide to ignore the scenario rather than directly engage it. Quiñones links this back to the advice he likes to give all college students: “Ignore all the negative messages that society often gives.” Society often teaches us to keep our heads down, but if we just pay attention we all can really make a difference.
Quiñones has seen many different reactions on his show, and though he admits that there is nothing scientific about what he does, he believes that people are changing. “Things are getting better because of the internet. People are closer. The internet allows others to meet and communicate with others who are different from them”. In our digital age of connectivity there is a way to make things better.
Quiñones gave a very insghtful perspective growing up as a poor child to becoming a well respected and well known Primetime host, and he spoke positively about his experiences as a reporter and discovering the problems of the world. He encouraged everyone at Wheaton College and elsewhere to pursue what they love and always be aware of the troubles of those around them.