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Hey Ohio Students: Enter NPR's Student Podcast Challenge

NPR's Student Podcast Challenge is returning for a second year.
LA Johnson
NPR's Student Podcast Challenge is returning for a second year.

Coming off its successful first Student Podcast Challenge, NPR is bringing the contest back with an addition: a podcast to teach students how to make a podcast.

NPR's inaugural contestlast year attracted nearly 6,000 entries from around the country. Grand prize winners included a story about one east Tennessee town coming to terms with its legacy of killing an elephant, and a group of Bronx girls trying to end the stigma associated with periods.

The range of topics wasn’t the issue with the first challenge, says Steve Drummond of NPR’s Education team, which runs the contest. It was the audio quality of many of the entries.

“One of the things we want to do in this new contest is provide teachers and students with tips and advice on how to make a great podcast, and one of the basic starters is just some of the real simple things you can do to make your audio sound better,” Drummond says.

One of last year’s finalists hailed from right here in Central Ohio. Skyler Perry, a former Wellington School student, interviewed her dad about his embarrassing hobby of playing Pokémon Go.

“I always thought it was really interesting that he continued his obsession with this game even after most people stopped playing it. But I didn’t like that he was judged for it,” Perry told WOSU’s Clare Roth last year.

Like the 2019 version, winners of this year’s contest will be featured on one of NPR’s news magazines.

"The best advice we can give kids is: Find a topic that you're really interested in, really passionate about," Drummond says. "And that was one of the most fun things for us in doing this contest, was hearing kids from all over the country talk about issues that are really important to them."

Here are the basic rules:

  • Until March 24, teachers or qualified educators can submit student entries in two basic categories: grades 5-8 and grades 9-12.
  • Entries can be as short as three minutes and as long as 12 minutes, and must be uploaded to SoundCloud.
  • Students need the help of teachers and are not permitted to submit entries on their own.

You can find more information about how to submit your entries here.Students can also find resourceson how to make a good podcast on the NPR website.

Entries will be judged by a panel of judges including NPR's Sam Sanders, Ailsa Chang and more. Winners will be announced in April.