Our 6th Annual Student Podcast Contest

Create a 5 minute or less podcast that informs or entertains to win a prize.

Our 6th Annual Student Podcast Contest

What do you listen to in order to stay up-to-date on the latest news? To laugh? To laugh? To learn new things?

Imagine that you, or you and your friends, are behind a microphone. What would you say? What would you talk about? What are your thoughts, talents, opinions, or insights?

We invite teens to submit podcasts that are no longer than five minutes in length. You can create anything you want, in whatever form you choose. The Learning Network will feature our favorites.

Please take a look below at the related guidelines and resources. You can ask any questions in the comments section and we will answer them there. Or you can write us at EMAIL. Consider posting this one-page PDF announcement on the bulletin board in your classroom.

The Rules

Please carefully read the rules before you submit an entry. More information can be found in the Frequently asked questions section.

Create a podcast with a beginning, middle, and end that is clear.

The beginnings of a story often grab the attention or give context. The endings are often a summary or a question, or they tease what's next.

You can submit an excerpt of a podcast as long as it is a thoughtful use of time. A podcast can have a hard "end" or it can end a segment or close an introduction in a longer episode.

Use any podcast genre or format.

Podcast formats that are popular include conversations, interviews, nonfiction storytelling, and fiction storytelling. Genres popular include comedy, true crimes, news documentaries, history, radio theatre, and sports. You can select from a wide variety of formats and genres.

Podcasts cannot exceed five minutes.

Please double-check the length of your audio files. Please check the length of your audio file.

This contest requires that your podcast be original.

Our contests are designed to inspire students and give them the opportunity to share their work with a larger audience. You can submit something new if you've already published an article.

If, at the time you submit your work, it has been published or selected for publication by a radio station or another podcast contest or any other website (not your page or that of a teacher or class), do not enter it in our contest.

You may submit your entry for publication to other publications or contests after submitting it to this one.

You can create your podcast alone or in a group. However, please only submit one entry per student.

Remember to include the names of all those who are involved in your submission if you're submitting it as a group. You should only submit your application as a member of a group.

  1. Use appropriate language.

Consider your listeners to be New York Times readers. Please, no explicit language.

Use only non-copyrighted music or sound effects, except in certain cases.

Please list all sources of music and sound effects in a separate section on the submission form. Copyrighted music or sound effects cannot be used to make your podcast sound more professional. You can instead find royalty-free sound effects and music on Freesound or SoundBible. Or, do a search online for royalty-free files. You can also use audio editing software in order to create your music or sound effects. There are some limited exceptions to the fair use rule that allow you to use copyrighted works, for example, when reviewing a song or reporting a movie. Learn more about these exceptions so that you can ensure your use of copyrighted materials does not violate copyright protections.

SoundCloud is a great platform to host your podcast. Our judges will also listen to podcasts hosted by other sites such as Podomatic Buzzsprout Anchor Spreaker Podbean. Be sure to set the track settings to "public" and follow the terms of service for your hosting site. Note: Because our judges have had trouble listening to podcasts on GoogleDrive in the past, we recommend that you try a different method.

To participate, you must be between the ages of 13 and 19 years old in high school or middle school.

Please see the FAQ for more information. Please refer to the F.A.Q. Please see the F.A.Q. section for more information on eligibility.

Please submit all entries by May 17, 2023, 11:59 pm Pacific time using the form below.

To allow for any technical problems, we provide a short window of time following the deadline. We will not, however, judge late entries.

Resources for Teachers and Students

These resources will help you to create a podcast.

The unit plan includes writing prompts that will inspire you to create your own podcasts; a mentortext featuring previous winners of the contest; and a lesson plan focusing on storytelling, editing, and producing.

Three short videos by two Times audio producers, and a student contest winner, who offer tips on how you can plan and script a podcast.

The recorded webinar on writing for podcasts (above) features a school library with experience in teaching podcasting to children, New York Times producers of podcasts and past student winners of the contest.

Here are our winners for 2022, 2021 and 2020. Also, a video of their advice (in the Rules section, above).

Two lesson plans for teaching using popular New York Times podcasts. 'Using the Modern Love to Teach Narrative Writing' and. 'Experimenting with Sound and Story: Learning and Teaching With 'The Daily Podcast'.

The New York Times has a series called 'The State of podcasting' that includes articles about teenage podcasters, "podcast voice," stories of people who are overlooked by the medium and the future of the industry.


Answers to all your questions regarding writing, judging and rules. Please take the time to read through these carefully. If you can't find an answer, please post your question in the comments section or email us at [EMAIL protected].


What is a Podcast?

Simple: podcasts are audio recordings that come in a variety of formats. Podcasts can take the form of a play or a news report; an interview or friendly conversation; or even a personal narrative. Some podcasts aim to inform, while others entertain, and still others attempt to convince. You can make them funny, serious or even emotional. Your podcast can be anything you want.

How can I make a podcast stand out from the crowd?

We are looking for pieces that are thoughtful and have a clear beginning middle and end. Here are some tips on how to make your podcast stand out.

Select a subject that is important to you. Passion will not only sustain you through the creative process but will also shine through the final product. You only have five minutes to choose a topic, so you need to make sure that it is something you can tackle in that amount of time. You may not be able tackle the entire issue of climate change but you could focus on one small part of it like food waste.

Use a format to bring your topic alive. What's the best way to present this story? It is appropriate to share the story using your own perspective or should you conduct an interview? Is it better to have the podcast follow a strict structure or a more free-flowing conversation? Would a fictional story or nonfiction be more interesting or meaningful?

Create an outline or script before recording your podcast. A plan will help you to make the best use of your five-minute slot and also make it easier for listeners to follow.

Make sure that your audio is crystal clear. It is not necessary to use high-end recording equipment in order to create a good podcast. However, you should speak clearly and eliminate as much background noise as possible.

Use sound with care and intention. Speaked word, music and sound effects can create a captivating listening experience. Think about how you can use them to create context, structure your podcast, and engage the emotions of your listeners.

How do I choose a topic for a podcast?

You can talk about anything in your podcast. Start by looking through our list of 1,000 prompts. It includes topics ranging from fashion and video games to parenting and smartphones. Respond to some prompts that you find interesting. You might then choose one that you liked writing about to inspire your podcast.

These prompts are great for writing personal stories. Look at the list of writing prompts for argumentative essays if you're looking to express an opinion or start a debate. Our Writing Prompts section, which publishes a new question each school day, has even more.

Can I have someone else edit or produce my work?

It is fine to ask for feedback and make suggestions about your podcast but you should do all the editing and production yourself.

What are some examples of podcasts that I can find in The Times

All New York Times Podcasts can be found in the Podcasts column. Here are some of our favorites.

The Daily is a 20 minute morning news show powered by New York Times journalism.

"Still Processing" is a show that covers all aspects of culture from dating to television.

Modern Love is a collection of stories that examine the love lives and relationships of real people.

The Times' pop music team produces a podcast called 'Popcast' that covers music news, albums and songs, as well as artists to watch.

You're not restricted to The Times as a source of inspiration. In the Arts section you can also find suggestions for other podcasts, including this list from 36 podcast personalities.

Questions about Judicial Decisions

How will I be judged for my podcast?

Your work will be heard by journalists and producers on The New York Times Podcast team, as well as Learning Network staff and professional podcasters from all over the United States. This rubric will be used to judge the entries.

What is the prize?

Your work can be published on The Learning Network.

When will the winners of the competition be announced?

Two months after the end of the contest.

My podcast was not selected as a prize winner. Why?

Our team is unable to give individual feedback due to the large number of entries we receive.

Questions about teaching with this contest

I am a teacher. What resources can you provide to me that will help me with my teaching?

Start by reading our unit plan on creating a podcast. This unit plan includes writing prompts and mentor texts, as well as lesson plans to support the contest. Watch our webinar to learn more about teaching with this unit.

The Learning Network's services are completely free.

What can you tell about student privacy and copyright?

The copyright is retained by the student. This means they can sell their work or have it published elsewhere once it has been submitted to our contest.

By submitting an entry a student - or, if under 18, their parent - agrees to allow The Times to use it in print and online on nytimes.com. They also agree to allow The Times to authorize other parties to do the same. The submission process includes the permission form.

The full name of the student is not required. Students and their families can decide how to identify themselves in the event that their entry is chosen as a finalist.

If you have any other questions or concerns regarding privacy, please contact us by EMAIL.

How to Submit

This contest will begin on April 19, 2023. On the date the contest begins, we will post the form below.

Students aged 13-19 are eligible to participate. Students aged 13 or older in the United States, the United Kingdom or anywhere else in the world can enter themselves. If you are between the ages of 13 and 15 years old, but live outside the United States or United Kingdom, an adult must submit your entry on behalf.

Before submitting, all students must have their parent or guardian fill out the Parent/Guardian permission section.

There is no bulk submission option for this contest.

No confirmation email is sent by our system. You will know that we have received your entry if you see the message "Thank you for your submission" when you enter.