Speaking His Language: Junior’s Spanish Newscast a First for Mason Cable Network

Photo of Issmar Ventura

Issmar Ventura at BBC News LA, where he interned in summer 2015. Photo provided.

By Damian Cristodero

Issmar Ventura knows exactly what he wants to do once he lands a job as a journalist.

“I want to cover those things not a lot of people cover,” he said. “I want to focus not only on my population but the minority population as a whole. I feel those voices are not heard enough.”

For now, though, it is enough that Ventura, a George Mason University junior communications major, gets his own voice heard on Mason Cable Network’s first Spanish-language news show, a show he created.

The prerecorded show—Noticiero GMU—is telecast Wednesdays after the 6 p.m. English-language news and features Ventura reading his own copy that includes what he called “my little bit of spice.”

“I’m not only going to class, I’m running my own news show. I’m building a team,” he said. “I have camera people working now. By next year, I want to have a co-anchor. It’s a great opportunity.”

It also is a means to an end for Ventura, who in 2000 moved with his family from El Salvador to Woodbridge, Va.

photo of Issmar Ventura and Adriana Rugierro

Issmar Venturo and Adriana Rugierro, lead anchor for Noticiero Estrella. Ventura shadowed Rugierro for part of his internship. Provided photo.

Ventura interned last summer in Los Angeles with BBC Mundo, the British Broadcasting Corporation’s online Spanish-language platform, for which he mostly did reporting and research. To be in front of the camera, Ventura said he was told he needed practice, polish and a portfolio. The Spanish-language show at George Mason is a start.

“He asked me why I wanted to do it,” Ventura said of Robert Horan, Mason Cable Network’s general manager, who gave the show the green light. “I said I want to develop my skills, and I’m not going to be able to develop them if I’m just reading and writing. I’m taking the resources the school is offering to build my portfolio.”

While Horan, a senior communications major, thought the idea would promote diversity and help Mason Cable Network reach a broader audience, he also liked Ventura’s initiative.

“He’s really passionate about what he wants to do,” Horan said. “He’s already trying to find his niche within the school, which is really cool to see.”

“His drive to succeed is inspiring,” said Brydin Banning, Ventura’s academic advisor last year, who is now at the University of Denver.

Ventura puts together his show with news director Kala West, a senior communications major. After deciding on stories, Ventura said he writes copy using news services as sources for national features and his own reporting for campus issues.

Soon, he said, he’d like to do studio interviews focused on minority achievement.

“Let’s say I know an alumnus from the Communication Department who is doing it big somewhere,” Ventura said. “I want to bring [in] that person because I want that person to share their experience so it can motivate another student.”

And add to Ventura’s portfolio.