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2003 Michael S. Powell HS Journalist of the Year: Charles Smith Jewish Day School’s Joel Kliksberg

Joel Kliksberg, a senior at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland, and editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper, The Lion’s Tale, is the MDDC High School Journalist of the Year Award for 2003.
Kliksberg already had established himself as an outstanding young journalist through his work at the school newspaper, in addition to serving as a staff writer and photographer for El Tiempo Latino of Washington, D.C., as a freelance photographer for area newspapers and as an intern at Gazette Newspapers.
“Our winner impressed the judges with his investigative skill, his devotion to the craft, his interest in topics relevant to his school and community, and his developing versatility,” said Jean Thompson, Baltimore Sun associate editorial page editor and MDDC Journalism Education Committee Chair. “He is mastering news writing and reporting in two languages and he is developing a critical eye as a news photographer.”
Kliksberg began working on The Lion’s Tale as a photographer in ninth grade. He served as a writer, photo editor and managing editor before being named editor-in-chief. During his tenure, the newspaper investigated thefts at the school, exposed unethical practices at an SAT tutoring service, and wrote editorials critical of decisions made by the school administration resulting in changes by the administration.
“Although Joel and I did not always agree on issues, my job was easier knowing I had an editor-in-chief whom I could trust completely for his clear judgment, honesty and compassion,” said Susan Zuckerman, journalism adviser at Charles E. Smith.
Thompson also cited Kliksberg’s enthusiasm and professionalism in reporting stories like the expose' of an SAT tutoring company and an editorial calling for the school to reinstate a class on Israeli-Palestinian relations.
“Above all, it appears from the subjects and causes that he chooses to cover, such as the plight of Latino immigrants that Joel understands the role of the journalist as a champion for making the world a better place,” said Thompson.
Kliksberg’s freelance photographs have been published by the Associated Press, El Tiempo Latino, Gazette Newspapers, USA Today, The Washington Times and Washington Jewish Week. Starting in 2001, he worked as a staff writer and photographer for El Tiempo Latino using his Spanish language skills to cover a variety of topics, including the closing of D.C. General Hospital.

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