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Director contributes $15,000 to journalism program

February 14, 2012
By James Coster

The multi-purpose room (MPR) was filled to capacity with students, faculty and members of the media to witness film producer Charles Evans Jr. donate $15,000 to Daniel Pearl Magnet High School’s (DPMHS) journalism department following an exclusive screening of his new documentary “Addiction Incorporated.”

“I am very pleased to support Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in its effort to enhance student skills in journalism and to expand the program to include photojournalism,” said Evans on his donation. “We look forward to welcoming these new filmmakers and journalists into an industry that sorely needs young people with the idealism, skill and the passion for truth in reporting.”

Though originally intended to be an intimate viewing experience for journalism and media students, the high demand for seats from core class students increased. Therefore, spots became available to any student who wished to put their name on the waiting list for a chance to see the film.

“I am really happy I was able to get a seat for the showing,” said senior Sabrina Chavez. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience to see firsthand into the journalism industry.”

Evans’ film focused on the tobacco industry’s first “whistle-blower” Victor DeNoble and the highly publicized lawsuits that followed his release from the Philip Morris tobacco company after revealing the previously unknown addictive qualities of nicotine to the public.

Originally hired by the Philip Morris tobacco company as a scientist to help in developing a less cancer-causing cigarette, DeNoble soon observed the then-unknown addictive qualities of nicotine and was faced with the ethical dilemma of whether or not to speak out about his findings.

Although he was laid off from his job for revealing confidential information about the company he worked for, it is because of his research that the highly addictive qualities of cigarettes are now common knowledge.

DeNoble has since spent his years traveling the country and speaking to high school students about the dangers of nicotine and cigarette smoking.

“It was awesome to hear from this truly inspirational figure,” said junior Hassan Muhammed. “Especially through his own words.”

Following the showing, Evans was joined by DeNoble and the film’s investigative journalist Myron Levin for an exclusive on-stage panel led by journalism teacher Adriana Chavira and newspaper students junior Elitza Batchiyska and sophomore Carlos Godoy.

Students in the audience were then given the chance to ask their own questions to Evans, DeNoble and Levin in a Q&A style setting.

“What would you say to a smoker in the audience?” asked sophomore Kathy Lozano.

“I wouldn’t say anything,” DeNoble said. “I’d listen to them. I’d ask them and find out the root to why they chose to engage such an addictive and dangerous product.”

Principal Janet Kiddoo already has a plan for how this extra money will help the school.

“We hope that with this generous donation, we will be able to expand our communications department so we can finally include broadcasting into our curriculum,” she said.

Following the Q&A, a special luncheon for select journalism and media students was held in the faculty cafeteria to give students the chance to speak personally with the filmmakers themselves.

Sandwiches, coffee and pastries were offered both to the honored guests as well as the students. In addition, news reporters, teachers and administrative heads Principal Kiddoo and Magnet Coordinator Laverne Potter were amongst the invited few.

Source: The Pearl Post