What if you gathered a group of high school students, gave them fancy microphones and some training, and challenged them to make an investigative podcast about the issues they cared about the most?
That’s the premise of a nonprofit called The Bell, started in New York City by 2017 by two former teachers with a journalism background and a belief that one way to improve education is to elevate the voices of students.
But getting the idea off the ground has been a lot of work, both for the educators in charge and for the student reporters. Often the students come in expecting they can just turn on a mic and talk with their friends and click publish, says Taylor McGraw, the group’s co-founder and executive director. The students soon learn that the production and quality expected for The Bell’s Miseducation podcast requires learning how to research, interview and write scripts to weave narratives inspired by NPR shows like “This American Life.”
For this week’s EdSurge Podcast, we talked with two leaders of this unusual after-school program, co-founder and executive director Taylor McGraw, and student programs manager Sabrina DuQuesnay.
And we learn how their student-driven podcast is going—both the challenges they’ve faced, and how they managed to get featured on one of the top podcasts in the country.