Student Reporting Labs Launches First-Ever Student Journalism Challenge with the XQ Institute

Arlington, Va.—Student Reporting Labs (SRL), an education program of WETA and the PBS NewsHour, is pleased to announce its first Student Journalism Challenge. Students aged 13 to 18 years old from across the United States are invited to contribute written, video and audio pieces on key issues in education throughout the fall semester of the new school year. Expert judges will select the best of each format and stories will be shared widely on local and national public media platforms. 

The Student Journalism Challenge, made possible by funding from the XQ Institute, empowers students to build and utilize their research, critical thinking and storytelling skills to explore issues in U.S. education today. 

SRL will support students to report on their school districts and communities through instructional resources on SRL’s new, free StoryMaker platform launching in August. 

The stories will shine light on issues in the educational space, as students see them. Issues could include school board meetings, how schools are spending Federal COVID Relief Funding, ways that communities are rethinking classes and education strategies and other issues central to life and well-being as a high school student. 

Who better to explore and report the stories of what is happening in American schools than the students whose daily lives are affected by policies, priorities and practice,” says Leah Clapman, SRL’s Executive Director. “This generation is finding agency and power through media making and we’re excited to provide a forum that connects them to our multimedia storytelling curriculum and authentic audiences across the country.”

“XQ powers community-driven efforts to transform high schools so all students are equipped to thrive in school and after graduation. It’s essential that we engage students and understand what issues matter to them to drive that change,” says Russlynn Ali, XQ CEO and Co-founder. “We are honored to support the Student Journalism Challenge as an invitation to the nation’s young people to share their powerful perspectives.” 

Use of sophisticated video recording equipment is not required, though creativity and ambitious storytelling are encouraged.

Young people ages 13-18 affiliated with schools, involved with clubs, after-school, and extracurricular organizations are eligible to enter.

The deadline for entries is Friday, December 2, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET 

Thirty (30) finalists—ten (10) finalists each from audio, video, and text—will be selected by judges from all entries.  Six (6) winners and six (6) honorable mentions will be announced in February 2023 (we’ll be in regular communication with updates on the judging).

Winners of the Student Journalism Challenge will have their work published on digital and social platforms by local PBS stations, WETA’s Well Beings youth mental health initiative, and through XQ Institute networks. 

Visit the site to enter, share, and review submission criteria.

About PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs

Now in over 180 middle and high schools, Student Reporting Labs (SRL) is a national youth journalism program and public media initiative that trains teenagers across the country to produce stories that highlight the achievements, challenges and reality of today’s youth. SRL creates transformative educational experiences through video journalism that inspire students to find their voice and engage in their communities. Since 2009, SRL youth media producers have helped students place over 100 video news reports on PBS NewsHour’s nightly broadcast and more on local media outlets. Visit to learn more.

About the XQ Institute

XQ is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to rethinking the high school experience so that every student graduates ready for good jobs, successful careers and real life. XQ works with communities throughout the country—with schools, school systems, and entire states—to help them dream big about what equitable and rigorous high schools can be and turn their innovative ideas into action. Visit for more information, and join the #RethinkHighSchool conversation on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

About PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour is a production of NewsHour Productions LLC, a wholly-owned non-profit subsidiary of WETA Washington, DC. Major corporate funding is provided by BNSF, Consumer Cellular, Fidelity, Johnson & Johnson, and Raymond James, with additional support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Skoll Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Friends of the NewsHour and others. More information on PBS NewsHour is available at You can watch and find NewsHour on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. NewsHour Productions also produces PBS News Weekend and Washington Week.

About Well Beings

Well Beings launched in July 2020 with the Youth Mental Health Project, engaging youth voices to create a national conversation, raise awareness, address stigma and discrimination, and encourage compassion. Well Beings was created by WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public media station in the nation’s capital, and brings together partners from across the country, including people with lived experience of health challenges, families, caregivers, educators, medical and mental health professionals, social service agencies, private foundations, filmmakers, corporations and media sponsors, to create awareness and resources for better health and well-being. The documentary Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness is part of the Well Beings Youth Mental Health Project, the first major focus for Well Beings. Other featured Well Beings projects address rural health care, caregiving, survival of childhood cancer, and more.  For more information, visit The public can join the conversation on youth mental health by using #PlainSightPBS and #WellBeings, visiting or following @WellBeingsOrg on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter

About WETA

Founded in 1961, the Washington Educational Telecommunications Association (WETA) is the second largest producing-station of new content for public television in the United States, with productions and co-productions including works by filmmaker Ken Burns and Florentine Films, such as The U.S. and the Holocaust; and by scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., including the series Finding Your Roots and the forthcoming documentary Making Black America: Through the Grapevine; as well as PBS NewsHour, PBS Washington Week and The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at

Media Contacts:

Carri Schneider, XQ Institute Head of Editorial+Publishing, 

Tom Chiodo, WETA Executive Director, Special Projects, 

Nick Massella, PBS NewsHour Executive Director, Communications, 

Marcus Markle, SRL Senior Communications Manager,