Every year, Student Reporting Labs releases prompts on different topics or themes tied to national and newsworthy issues, and asks participating Labs to create digital stories around these topics with specific instructions and guidelines.

SRL releases MOST of its prompts at the same time for planning purposes. Each prompt outlines expectations for submissions and guides for teachers to help guide classroom discussions around the topics with intro activities.

2020-2021 SRL Prompts By Type and Skill Level

Social Media Prompt:

Returning to School

After a year of online learning, millions of students are heading back to school in person amid surges of the Delta variant. What does returning to in-person learning look and feel like amid new Delta variant concerns, vaccination debates, and mask mandates? Student experiences are necessary to inform and broaden public conversations. Read more

Rapid Responses:

Skill Level: Beginner

Students practice basic interview & production skills

9/11 20 Years Later

The September 11 attacks marked one of the most significant events of American history. Current high school students were born years after the attacks, but are surrounded by people with vivid memories of the events, either from the news or in-person on that day. How are students today learning about the September 11 attacks and the world events that resulted? Read more

Pop Culture That Made Me Feel Seen

Mass media like movies, books, TV shows, and songs have the power to inspire and entertain us. They can also show us new ways of thinking, help us explore our own identities, and showcase underrepresented perspectives. SRL wants you to share a time when you “felt seen” by something in pop culture or in the media (a movie, book, TV show, song, podcast, comic book, etc.) What did it do for you? How did you relate to it? Did it feel like it was an accurate depiction?  Why was it so good? Read more

TikTok Challenges

Over the past month, a viral TikTok trend (known as the “devious lick” challenge) has swept schools across the country. The trend encourages students to commit and post acts of vandalism, such as stealing soap dispensers and damaging bathrooms. What kind of TikTok-inspired acts have happened at your school and how is it affecting students and staff? Read more


Skill Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Students practice interview, b-roll and editing skills

Back to School, Big Debates

The beginning of the school year is always an exciting and stressful time. This year is particularly challenging as many communities debate how to operate schools safely during a pandemic.

At the same time, the country is grappling with how to address present-day discrimination, racism and the legacy of slavery, as school boards, parents, and lawmakers argue about what students should be taught. New laws and policies are also emerging to regulate how transgender students participate in sports. SRL wants you to explore some of the big debates in your community as the new school year begins. Read more

What they didn’t teach me in school

This school year, there’s a national conversation going on about how things like history, current events and specific books should — and shouldn’t —be taught in schools. But we know that young people are looking to sources outside of school — online and otherwise — to learn about the world, too. Read more


Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Students practice pitching ideas, interview, and editing

  • SRL is producing the second season of our podcast “On Our Minds” about teen mental health! For this special reporting project, SRL has two opportunities: 1. apply to be a student host and/or 2. pitch and produce an audio story.