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The NPR Student Podcast Challenge


NPR's Student Podcast Challenge is back – for a fifth year! Now through April, we'll once again be hearing from thousands of student podcasters, all competing for grand prizes and a chance to hear their stories on NPR. This year's Student Podcast Challenge will open for entries on Jan. 6, 2023 and close on April 28. As in past years, judges will choose winners in two categories: grades five through eight and grades nine through 12. Entries must be submitted by an educator or a student leader who's 18 years old or older.

The workshop for middle school and high school scheduled for February 18 and March 11 has been CANCELED. Please call 217-206-6568 or email bbonn3@uis.edu if you would like individual guidance and assistance with your podcast.

Quick Links
Submission Guidelines
Guide for Students
Curriculum Guide for Educators

For the middle and high school contest opening in January – and for the college competition later in the year – our basic guidelines remain pretty much the same: Students can create a podcast about any topic they wish to explore. To give you an idea, we've listened to stories on everything from social media, tattoos to even tater tots. Some themes we've seen over and over include questions on race and identity and how young people do, or don't, fit in. Your podcast can also be in many different formats: an interview, narrative story or even investigative reporting. You can do it by yourself or with your entire class.

One important rule to keep in mind is that the maximum length of your podcast is eight minutes, and longer entries will be disqualified. After years of listening to student podcasts, we've learned that shorter is better.

To help you get started, we've got a slew of podcasting resources on how to tell a good story, how to warm up your voice and how to use music in your podcast, among other topics. Even, and we're serious about this, how making a pillow fortcan make you sound better!

You can find more tips and tricks on The Students' Podcast, our podcast on how to make a good podcast. We also encourage you to get a feel for what we're looking for by listening to last year's winning podcasts which can be found here. And previous years' winners', here (2021) and here (2020).

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