C-SPAN contest will award $100,000 to student documentarians

For the 17th year, C-SPAN—the network to turn to when reading becomes too stimulating—presents StudentCam 2021, its annual video documentary competition for middle and high school students. Designed to encourage students to think critically about issues—something they might want to pass along to their parents—this year’s theme is “Explore the issue you most want the president and new Congress to address in 2021.”

Think there might be a road or two to go down with that one?

C-SPAN will award cash prizes totaling $100,000 to the 150 entries judged to be the best. Long Beach Poly students, Diana Michaelson and Visud Chang were recognized with an honorable mention, and $250, for their 2020 entry, “More Than Meets the Eye: A Look at the Affordable Housing Crisis.

The competition is open to all students in grades 6 to 12, who are allowed to compete individually or in teams of two or three. Documentaires must include clips of supporting or opposing video from C-SPAN and will be judged on how they thoroughly explore a variety of viewpoints related to the chosen topic.

If you’re looking for a few tips, C-SPAN had Ella-Grace Rodriguez, a three-time StudentCam prize winner and current C-SPAN intern, break down the 2021 StudentCam theme and share some ideas, below.


Documentaries can be submitted as early as Nov. 1, with a final deadline of Jan. 20, 2021. For more information, click here.

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Steve Lowery began his journalism career at the Los Angeles Times, where he planned to spend his entire career. God, as usual, laughed at his plans and he has since written for the short-lived sports publication The National, the L.A. Daily News, the Press-Telegram, New Times LA, the District and the OC Weekly. He is the Arts & Culture Editor for the Post, overseeing the Hi-lo.