NPR Hosting Student Podcast Challenge

NPR is hosting its first-ever student podcast challenge. Winners will receive visits from the media organization's journalists before the end of the school year. The winning podcasts will also be included in segments of NPR's shows, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, during the spring.

These downloadable and streaming audio files can cover any topic, but NPR had some suggestions in its official rules:

  • Stories about the school or community that others would want to hear;
  • A moment from history that every student should know;
  • A debate on a topic of importance to students;
  • What in the world students want to change; or
  • Coverage of something "that kids understand and grownups don't."

The contest is open to students in grades 5 through 12. The recordings must run between three and 12 minutes and not include music. Entries don't have to be class projects, but students will need the help of a teacher to submit their entries (since an account needs to be set up for SoundCloud, to upload the submissions).

The judging criteria will consider information and structure; personality and creativity; and production quality. Regarding production quality, NPR insists that all that's needed to produce a broadcast-worthy podcast is a smartphone and a computer. To help students learn the basics, NPR has posted a guide for students, which explains how to organize a podcast and produce it and also has links to examples that would appeal to young people. A separate teacher's guide explains how to lead a class or an extracurricular group in the production of podcasts.

Submissions are due from teachers between Jan. 1 and Mar. 31, 2019. Judging begins in April.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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