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NPR's Student Podcast Challenge Opens For Middle And High School Students

It's that time of year! New semester, new assignments, new Student Podcast Challenge. Yep, NPR's Student Podcast Challenge is back for its third year, and it opens today, Jan 1.

We know you have stories to tell and we at NPR are excited to listen. Tell us about your life, or something you're passionate about — like tater tots. You could investigate a hometown mystery, or write a radio drama and direct a dramatic reading with friends. We've heard all these and more in our first two years. The world is your oyster!

Last year, despite a massive disruption to the school year amid the global pandemic, the Student Podcast Challenge brought in thousands of podcasts from high school and middle school students in 46 states and the District of Columbia. (We missed you, Dakotas!)

This year, the basics are pretty much the same: Students will create a podcast about a topic they want to explore — and that can be just about anything.

There are some rules to keep in mind: Only students in grades 5-12 are eligible to enter, and a teacher, or after-school program coordinator, or parent or anyone over the age of 18 has to be the one to submit the podcast.

One big change this year: The maximum length of your podcast will be eight minutes. We've found, after listening to a lot of podcasts, that shorter is better. Plus that's how long we get to tell our stories at NPR!

And, as always, we've got a host of training materials, guides for sound recording and audio production, what you can — and can't — do with music, lists of do's and don'ts, and we even made a podcast about making a good podcast!

The Students' Podcast is in its second season with new episodes every Sunday. This year we're sharing advice from some students who are already pretty good at podcasting — so good, in fact, that they were finalists in last year's challenge. Listen to our new episodes on storytelling, interviewing and how to deal with sensitive topics. Check back Sunday for an episode on investigations!

The NPR Student Podcast Challengeopens today, Jan. 1, and will close on March 15. The SPC: College Edition opened in December and runs until February 15.

Make sure to sign up for our newsletter with more tips and advice, here! And follow us on twitter @NPR_Ed

Ready, set, record!

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Steve Drummond heads up two teams of journalists at NPR. NPR Ed is a nine-member team that launched in March 2014, providing deeper coverage of learning and education and extending it to audiences across digital platforms. Code Switch is an eight-person team that covers race and identity across the network, and in an award-winning weekly podcast.
Sequoia Carrillo is an assistant editor for NPR's Education Team. Along with writing, producing, and reporting for the team, she manages the Student Podcast Challenge.