John Quinones, renowned ABC journalist and host of What Would You Do?, will be accepting the 2021 Carr Van Anda award at the Carr Van Anda Symposium Tuesday, Oct. 19, on Ohio University’s campus. Along with accepting the award, Quinones will be accompanied by a panel of experienced journalists and historians speaking about Carr Van Anda and diversity in journalism.
The award stems back to accomplished Ohio University alumnus Carr Van Anda. In 1904, Van Anda became managing editor of The New York Times, where he introduced science and worldly topics to journalism. His work evolved the major newspaper into what it is today, and, for his extensive work in the field, an award was named after him.
Since 1968, faculty at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism have been awarding journalists the Carr Van Anda award for their exceptional contributions to good journalism.
Nerissa Young, associate professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and adviser of the Ohio chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, or OUSPJ, nominated Quinones in 2019. Young was at the Excellence in Journalism Conference in San Antonio, Texas, where she saw Quinones accepting the Hogan Award for distinguished service in radio from the Radio Television Digital News Association, when the idea to nominate and invite Quinones to OU’s campus came to her.
“He has a very compelling personal story, plus has done some excellent reporting,” Young said. “And so that’s how things got started. I talked to our then OUSPJ board, and they wanted to bring him in as a special program. At that time, Dr. (Bob) Stewart was the director, and he was planning the Carr Van Anda symposium, and we thought it would be a great idea for whoever the Carr Van Anda award recipient that year to speak at the symposium.”
Quinones was initially awarded the 2020 Carr Van Anda award, but after COVID-19 broke out in March 2020, the event that was supposed to take place in April 2020 was postponed. Now, after a year and a half of waiting, the Carr Van Anda Symposium will finally take place.
The symposium has been the result of careful planning by Young, former Director of the Journalism School Bob Stewart and current Director of the Journalism School Eddith Dashiell.
The event will start at 9 a.m. with an introduction about Carr Van Anda and will continue until 4:25 p.m.
Quinones will be presented the award around 3 p.m. and will finish off the event with a keynote address.
Dashiell, a professor of journalism in addition to her director duties, said she hopes Quinones’ keynote address on journalism will give students and other participants attending the symposium a lot to take away and think about regarding the importance of diversity.
“(And) to be an inspiration for those students who may be members of underrepresented groups to say, ‘Hey, I can do this, too,’” Dashiell said, “Because I’m sure he’ll probably touch on the struggles he had being a Mexican American.”
Alongside Quinones, the symposium will include speaker Wafa Unus, a historian and an assistant professor of journalism at Fitchburg State University, who will speak about the history of Van Anda. A panel of alumni from the Scripps School of Journalism, all of whom work for The New York Times, will also be presented and will speak about their experiences in the field of journalism.
The in-person event will be invitation only, but a Zoom link will be available for people to tune in virtually. At the event, they will also be enforcing social distancing rules for those attendees who are in person.
Hannah Patton, a sophomore studying psychology, said it’s important for students to attend the event in order to learn about diversity in journalism.
“It’s very important to know about other people and where they come from and how that affects everything really,” Patton said.
After COVID-19 halted the event, Dashiell said she’s excited that the event will finally take place and that it will be held in person.
“Of course, the pandemic has been a challenge,” Dashiell said. “(But) we wanted (Quinones) to be on campus. We could’ve done it virtually, but what’s the fun in that? We wanted him to be able to be on campus and meet the students while he’s here. So, we’re really excited about that.”