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June Cross

Likes to explore complex issues through the lens of family and public health. She is the producer/director of “Wilhemina’s War.” She has won two national Emmys and two duPont-columbia Journalism Awards. Her last documentary, “The Old Man and the Storm,” followed the travails of an extended New Orleans family for three years after Hurricane Katrina. It aired on PBS’ “Frontline” in early 2009. She was an executive producer for “This Far by Faith,” a six-part PBS series on the African-American religious experience that broadcast in 2003. During her career, she completed eight documentaries for PBS’s “Frontline.” She has also worked 

at CBS News, and PBS’s “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.” She is also the author of a 

memoir, “Secret Daughter” published by Viking in 2006. The book is based on an earlier documentary that aired on Frontline. She is the founder of the Documentary Program at Columbia University’s Graduate 

School of Journalism in New York City.

Lisa Desai

is a journalist and producer whose stories have aired on the BBC, CNN International, PBS, TIME, Marketplace Radio, Agence France-Presse and The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.   Her reporting has taken her all over the world: from Syria, where she covered the education crisis among Iraqi refugees, to Rwanda where she reported on the state of maternal health.  She recently produced a short investigative documentary about international adoption fraud for PBS, with a grant from The Nation’s Investigative Fund.  In 2007, Lisa and two colleagues won an Archipelago Film Festival Award for their documentary about the Rockefeller drug laws. Lisa lives in New York City, where she reports, shoots, edits and produces breaking news and features. She worked as a producer for CNN International’s flagship show Amanpour and currently produces features, mainly about Africa, for various CNN programs.  Lisa is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism.

Cassandra Lizaire

has production credits that include field and studio work for “Democracy Now,” “NOW” on PBS, BET News, MTV and A&E, as well as work on independent films and documentaries. She worked on the PBS/Frontline documentary “The Old Man and the Storm,” produced by June Cross. As part of her journalism studies at Columbia University, she co-produced her first documentary, titled “The Wait.” This film tells the stories of four teens waiting for organ transplants. It received a Silver Medal at the 2009 Student Academy Awards. A freelance writer, she has also contributed to several news and entertainment sites, and NYC publications like the New York Beacon, The Canarsie Courier, and the Norwood News. She is currently researching her first documentary on the Freedom Farm Collaborative in Mississippi.


Bethany K. Ocansey

graduated from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 2007 with a Master’s of Science in Television and Radio Management and Programming.  Prior to this she completed her undergraduate study in London, England, receiving a BA Honors in Communication.  Ocansey has been working in the field of communication for over 10 years in various capacities; including marketing, PR, promotions, production, management and consulting.  Also working as a freelance writer since 2008 she is currently writing her first book, an autobiographical novel.

Ocansey has been an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists since 2006, and in collaboration with NPR has written and produced a personal commentary about realizing racism in America as she made the move from England to New York.  Her passion for following advances in technology and discovering the online media landscape has facilitated her growth in the field of website design and interpersonal interaction.   In the last year she has built and is currently maintaining an interactive website for young women created by the founder of non-profit organization L.E.S.S. Is More.


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