The Real News Network Staff
Editorial and Operations
Paul Jay – CEO and Senior Editor
As CEO and senior editor, Paul has produced over 7,000 news stories published by The Real News Network (TRNN). He is the host of the news analysis program, Reality Asserts Itself. He was the Executive Producer of CBC Newsworld's independent flagship debate show CounterSpin, where he produced over 2,000 shows during its 10 years on air. Paul is also an internationally acclaimed, award-winning filmmaker whose films include Return To Kandahar, Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows, Lost in Las Vegas, and Never-Endum-Referendum. He was also the Founding Chair of the Hot Docs International Festival (Toronto), now the largest in North America.
Sharmini Peries – Journalist and Executive Producer
As a journalist and executive producer, Sharmini harnesses the power of research and policy institutions, independent media, social movements, universities, and academics to form strategic partnerships for innovative programming at TRNN. Prior to joining TRNN, she served as the executive director of The International Freedom of Expression Exchange, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Royal Commission on Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and managed the Human Rights Code Review Task Force in Ontario. Sharmini also worked as Economic and Trade Advisor to President Chavez and the government of Venezuela from 2003-2007. She has an MA and PhD (EBD) from York University (Canada).
Jessica Desvarieux – Host, Producer, and D.C. Correspondent
Jessica is a multimedia journalist who hosts and serves as the Capitol Hill correspondent for The Real News Network. Before TRNN, Jessica was a producer for the ABC Sunday morning program, This Week with Christiane Amanpour; Haiti correspondent for TIME magazine and TIME.com, and as an on-air reporter for New York tri-state cable outlet Regional News Network. From 2008-2009, she worked from Egypt for Associated Press, Voice of America, and the International Herald Tribune-Daily News Egypt. She graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a Master of Science degree in journalism. Jessica is proficient in French, Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Colloquial Egyptian.
Jaisal Noor – Host, Producer, and Reporter
Jaisal is a host, producer, and reporter for TRNN. With expertise in education policy and systemic inequity, he focuses on Baltimore, Maryland. He mainly grew up in the Baltimore area and studied modern history at the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining TRNN, he contributed print, radio, and TV reports to Free Speech Radio News, Democracy Now! and The Indypendent. Jaisal also taught U.S. history at schools and colleges across New York City.
Anton Woronczuk – Producer and Host
Anton produces Reality Asserts Itself on TRNN. He is currently on the Editorial Team focused on international coverage. Before coming to TRNN, he earned an MA at Union Theological Seminary, where he studied religion with black liberation theologian James H. Cone and social theorist Jan Rehmann. Anton also worked as a research assistant for the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges on his book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.
Kayla Rivara – Producer
As a producer for TRNN, Kayla is responsible for guest outreach and story development. Prior to her work at TRNN, Kayla produced and hosted programs for WRHU Radio Hofstra University. She worked as a fellow for Hofstra's Center for Civic Engagement, and as a program assistant and board member for The Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives. At TRNN, Kayla continues her work fostering an informed and perceptive public.
Lynn Fries – Journalist and Producer
Lynn has been contributing to The Real News Network since 2007 initially based in NYC & focused on developing TRNN’s economic programs. In 2012, Lynn founded the TRNN Geneva based research & production unit. Before TRNN, Lynn was senior account manager of institutional relationships for research teams of analysts and economists in the financial services industry.
Lia Tarachansky – Journalist
Lia is the Israel/Palestine correspondent for TRNN. In 2012, Lia produced and co-directed a BBC World News documentary about Israel's Social Justice (J14) movement and the wave of self-immolations it sparked in protest of the harsh economic reality many face in Israel. Her first feature film, On The Side Of The Road, is a Naretiv Productions documentary on Israel's biggest taboo–the society's collective denial of the ethnic cleansing of 1948 as told by those who perpetrated it. In November 2013, On The Side of The Road opened the First International Film Festival on Nakba and Return, held in Tel Aviv.
Michaela Brown – Junior Producer
As a junior producer, Michaela is a part of TRNN’s Baltimore Bureau and The Real Hip-Hop production team.
Membership Services and Social Media
Rosette Sewali – Producer/Membership Relations Organizer
As membership relations organizer, Rosette is responsible for fundraising campaigns, mounting events in TRNN’s Town Hall space in Baltimore, member communications and outreach. She also helps research Canadian and African content, mobilizes TRNN’s members into action, and serves as TRNN’s volunteer recruiter and coordinator. Rosette has over 10 years’ experience working in marketing and advertising. She also worked as a volunteer for five years prior to joining TRNN as a full-time team member.
Studio News Production and Post - Production Team
Sebastian Pituscan – Post-Production Director
Sebastian has worked as TRNN’s Post-Production Coordinator since 2008. He has nearly 20 years of experience working in broadcast news and documentaries. As an expert in new digital technology, Sebastian facilitates post-production at TRNN and serves as a senior technical producer. Before joining TRNN, Sebastian worked as an editor and as Chief of the technical department for national broadcasters in Europe and in Canada. (Romania/Canada)
Chris DeMillo – Technical Producer
As technical producer, Chris brings his breadth of knowledge of studio equipment and television production to TRNN. He has a storied background in the film and television industry that includes experience in producing scripted and reality-based television, as well as sports and live field production. A native Baltimorean, Chris has worked in Los Angeles and D.C.
Martin Onuegbu – Studio Technician/Video Editor
As studio technician/video editor for TRNN, Martin works with a team to produce daily news stories. He attended the University of Baltimore County, in Baltimore, Maryland where he double majored in Cinematic Arts and Media Communication Studies. He has edited for Comcast and Baltimore County Television. Martin joined TRNN in 2012.
Charles Waters – Studio Technician
As a studio technician, Charles works in the TRNN Studio producing daily news. He is a Baltimore native with varied talents including music production and acting. His activism and civil disobedience actions while serving on the Baltimore Algebra Project's Advocacy Committee made him keenly aware of the injustice plaguing Baltimore.
Hezvo Mpunga – IT and Website Development Manager
As the architect of TRNN’s website, Hezvo is responsible for updating and maintaining the various components of the TRNN website. He is passionate about software and technology as tools for social improvement. At TRNN, where he has worked since 2008, he ensures the organization is nothing short of revolutionary in the creation and delivery of software applications for new media tools. Hezvo is also a musician.
Ziggy West Jeffery – Operations
Ziggy's focus is on new technologies, Joomla, social media, and donor management and relations. His work is instrumental in the integration of web technology with the dynamics of an ever-changing news cycle. He leads a web development team that continues to make TRNN's site faster, safer and more secure. Ziggy is also in charge of distribution of TRNN content and is responsible for recent major North American marketing and distribution deals.
Queenie Coulton – Office Manager
Queenie Joined the TRNN Headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland as its Office Manager in April 2013. She is responsible for maintaining the budget, payroll and payments of bills, and the day-to-day administration of the office complex. Queenie has over 10 years office management experience having worked in similar positions in the U.S. and internationally.
Mike McGuire – Head of Construction and Journalist
Mike joined TRNN in 2012 as the construction project manager for the new offices and studios in Baltimore. Beyond construction, he has an extensive background in social movements around the Western Hemisphere, including creative direct action and escalation strategies. Mike is co-editor of We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation.