Mason is...Redefining Excellence
Creating a Voice for Those Who Aren’t Heard
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 says. “I want to focus not only on my population but the minority population as a whole. I feel those voices are not heard enough.”
Last year, the George Mason University communication major created the first weekly Spanish-language news show — Mason Noticias — on the university’s student-run Mason Cable Network. The newscast now counts a staff of 10 students and plans to expand in the fall by adding a weather anchor.
Mason Noticias also is a means to an end for Ventura, who moved with his family from El Salvador to Woodbridge, Virginia, at the age of 6.
Last summer, Ventura interned 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 says he was told he needs practice, polish, and a portfolio. The Spanish-language show at Mason was a start.
"I’m taking the resources the school is offering to build my portfolio.”
“He asked me why I wanted to do it,” Ventura says of Mason communication major Robert Horan, was Mason Cable Network’s general manager, and 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.’ ”
While Horan 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 says. “He’s already trying to find his niche within the school, which is really cool to see.”
All that preparation is paying off. This summer, Ventura is covering news stories as a newscast intern with Telemundo Washington and also has an internship with Voz de America. In addition, he was recently recognized by the Washington, D.C., chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists with a Summer 2016 Charlie Ericksen Journalism Supplement.