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The NPR Student Podcast Challenge Will Return In 2023.


Even as NPR belt-tightening has led to a pause of its paid internship program next summer, the public radio network is still focused on the next generation of audio creators. One way it is doing that is with the return of the NPR Student Podcast Channel for a fifth year. NPR said Wednesday that it will begin the competition next month for middle and high school students. The companion NPR College Podcast Challenge is also slated to return in the fall.


Geared for middle and high school students, the NPR Student Podcast Challenge will begin accepting entries on January 6 with the deadline for submissions on April 28. As in past years, the 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.


In the five years since the competition was launched, NPR says it has heard from more than 40,000 students in every state with a wide range of topics covered, including social media, tattoos to even tater tots. It says some themes have turned up frequently too, such as questions on race and identity and how young people do, or don't, fit in. NPR’s Janet W. Lee and Steve Drummond also point out that they have even seen podcasting become part of the curriculum in one Illinois school.


Winners will be announced at the end of the school year with several of the shows airing on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”


Later next year the NPR College Podcast Challenge will also mark its return. One big change this year is NPR says the college contest will be open to students of all ages pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree, as well as those who are set to graduate in 2023. This means that a college senior entering their final winter or spring term will be allowed to submit any podcasts they created this fall. One thing that will remain the same is that college podcasters can enter their own work, without going through their school or professor, as long as the student is 18 years or older.


The College Podcast Challenge entry period will open on Sept. 1, 2023 and close at the end of year on Dec. 31, 2023. NPR says that will give students the entire fall academic term to create their podcast.

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