May 8, 2017
The NCFL tournament is an odd experience for most PF debaters, and I'm not just referring to the side/position lock. It's a huge tournament compressed in to a short time span and with the 1:1 judge to team ratio, the judging ends up far more lay than the other national tournaments. Last year, in the noisy curtained convention hall, I found myself the only judge flowing in most of my rounds, with decisions splitting between those who were technically superior on the flow and those who projected perceptual control of the arguments (and sometimes those aligned). Thus, this tournament and resolution offer a great excuse to contemplate debater's access to the most classified information in debate: how your judge thinks.
April 4, 2017
Prepping for the Tournament of Champions? Here's an in-depth, high-level topic analysis from Spencer Orlowski about the Jan/Feb Lincoln-Douglas Topic!
March 22, 2017
Want to learn more about the Electoral College Public Forum topic? Here's some advice from Harrison Hurt that will help you succeed!
March 15, 2017
Want to learn how to use a powerful federalism disadvantage on the Right to Housing Lincoln-Douglas topic? Here's some advice from Adam Tomasi about how to succeed with that argument!
March 15, 2017
Want insight about how to best run counter-plans on the Right to Housing Lincoln-Douglas topic? Here's some advice from Spencer Orlowski about how to succeed with CPs!
February 22, 2017
Click here to watch Harrison Hurt discuss the March Public Forum Debate topic. You'll want this extra analysis to ensure success in the coming month!
February 20, 2017
Click here to watch Spencer Orlowski discuss the March/April 2017 Lincoln-Douglas Debate topic. You'll want this extra analysis to ensure success in the new year!
February 13, 2017
The National Speech and Debate Association's February topic is a chance for Public Forum debaters to act as policy makers. Furthermore, this topic offers the best opportunity for debaters to dive into a bountiful amount of topic literature. When compared to any other topic that has existed in this season of debate, the February topic is definitively one of the most researched and most current topics that could have been selected.
January 30, 2017
February is an interesting month for Public Forum. Many teams no longer have local circuit competitions every weekend and are now looking at wrapping up their season with one, maybe two national tournaments. This means that most people won't have the luxury of taking one tournament to get their head around the topic so that their second tournament can be successful. Fortunately, there are many different ways one can get sufficiently prepared when only one tournament is on the docket for any given month. In this article I hope to give you some methods to hone your skills before Berkeley, Millard North, Penn, Delbarton, Harvard, etc., while also providing some insights on the February topic - "Resolved: the United States should lift its embargo against Cuba" along the way.
January 25, 2017
Rest assured: plans are here to stay, this topic notwithstanding. The Jan-Feb resolution's wording is straightforward yet apparently hostile to specification. In particular, the phrase "any" seems to problematize an affirmative's attempt to defend anything less than the whole resolution. After some thought, I believe that the resolution poses no innate barrier to plans. The negative can contest the affirmative's narrower grasp on the resolution, but the topicality debate is not unwinnable for the affirmative.
January 23, 2017
The 2017 January/February Lincoln-Douglas topic is engaging both because it is extremely timely and because it affords creative debaters a panoply of strategic opportunities. The resolution reads, Resolved: Public colleges and universities in the United States ought not restrict any constitutionally protected speech. Most debaters and coaches – especially those who have policy debate training – were surprised by the inclusion of the word "any," in part because it opens up affirmative debaters to a nearly-infinite number of plan-inclusive counterplans. I can practically see negative debaters excitedly planning the ten-thousand exceptions to the affirmative; "permit all speech with a narrow exception for X," where X is anything from hate speech to violent pornography to crush videos.
January 20, 2017
Click here to watch Kaitlyn O'Gara discuss the February 2017 Public Forum Debate topic. You'll want this extra analysis to ensure success on a difficult topic!
January 4, 2017
Click here to watch Spencer Orlowski discuss the Jan/Feb 2017 Lincoln-Douglas Debate topic. You'll want this extra analysis to ensure success in the new year!
December 13, 2016
Click here to watch Harrison Hurt discuss the January 2017 Public Forum Debate topic. You'll want this extra analysis to ensure success in the new year!
December 1, 2016
In my second year of college Policy Debate, I've found that "substantial" is one of my new favorite words. This year's college resolution uses the term to limit out plans which are too tiny (hence "insubstantial") to be debatable. For context, the current resolution reads: Resolved: The United States Federal Government should establish a domestic climate policy, including at least substantially increasing restrictions on private sector emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States. The presence of "substantially" makes it viable for teams to read T-substantial against affirmatives designed to be so small that there's little negative offense.
November 29, 2016
The National Speech & Debate Association's December 2016 topic is an excellent opportunity for the PF community to return to its roots. Debaters disillusioned by other topics containing obvious ground skew issues, a limited literature base, or less-than-interesting impacts will find the Plan Colombia topic to be a warm & familiar welcome, even if they don't have extensive knowledge of the topic area. Similar to how most December topics are, this resolution asks us to evaluate a policy decision on the basis of "Should we or should we not do X."
November 21, 2016
Click here to watch Kaitlyn O'Gara discuss the December 2016 Public Forum Debate topic. You'll want this extra analysis to ensure success at upcoming tournaments!
November 15, 2016
This month's topic area is drug policy, and the resolution that has been selected is an excellent chance for debaters to research the American military effort in the war on drugs. The resolution is extremely clear in its framing, yet broad enough to allow debaters to access a variety of arguments, alternatives, and frameworks that should make for great debates in December. Researching this topic will force students to consider the history of the war on drugs, American intervention in Latin America, and the current state of Colombian politics. Resolutions like this one are great for Public Forum, and debaters will have a lot of fun debating Plan Colombia in December.
November 8, 2016
During the prelim rounds of any given national debate tournament, you can find hundreds of public forum debaters scurrying around a high school cafeteria, chatting, prepping, and arguing. There's a nervous yet industrious energy that pervades the air, like a fast food restaurant at rush hour. Tensions are high, and debaters do whatever they can to release stress: listen to music, talk to teammates and friends, and perhaps most commonly, bash on whatever judge they had in the last round.
October 31, 2016
The November topic presents an interesting comparative debate for this month. Debaters may not be used to the wording of this topic-where the Affirmative is allowed to weigh any benefit in the round while the Negative seems to just be restricted to defending the very narrow ground of harms to personal privacy. The strategy on this topic, however, I think can be better balanced out to serve both sides equally with some unique links, big picture framing, and impact analysis.
October 25, 2016
On a legal topic like Nov/Dec 2016, it is really important for debaters to hold a basic understanding of the technical questions posed by legal scholars. It’s not like you have to get your law degree before you’re ready to debate qualified immunity, but the topic literature relies on a certain vernacular, as well as a body of case law, so it's helpful for debaters to have a good foundation of knowledge.
October 19, 2016
Click here to watch Spencer Orlowski discuss the Nov/Dec 2016 Lincoln-Douglas Debate topic. You'll want this extra analysis to ensure success at upcoming tournaments!
October 18, 2016
Click here to watch Caspar Arbeeny discuss the November 2016 Public Forum Debate topic. You'll want this extra analysis to ensure success at upcoming tournaments!
October 13, 2016
I come from a unique background in that I have coached national circuit debate but I also possess two degrees in some type of vocal music and am pursuing my third such degree. In my undergraduate I made my money coaching a fledgling but immensely talented local Utah LD team with circuit aspirations. I will never forget attending our weekly LD practice with a colleague and friend also pursuing her voice degree. After watching me give a speech in a practice debate at what would be considered by most to be an average circuit debater's speed, she advised me to quit my job, or at least never do a practice debate with the kids again, lest I do damage to my vocal mechanism.
October 6, 2016
With a few tournaments out of the way, I suspect that most of those reading this post will have a good idea what probable cause is, know the difference between reasonable suspicion and probable cause, and know what SRO stands for. If this does not describe you, I highly suggest you get your hands on our briefs for this month and read the multiple topic analyses and look through the large depth of evidence our writers have compiled for “Septober.” If you are not familiar with the topic yet, this post is not for you. I don’t intend to give a broad overview of the topic, but rather my opinions on arguments people are running, what I think works and doesn’t work in front of all types of judges, and how you can take your argumentation to the next level for the coming month. As a disclaimer, I think any offensive argument can be run well and win rounds, below are just my opinions on some that are better than others.
October 6, 2016
Earning a top-five speaker award feels awesome. Being recognized as the top speaker of a tournament is even more awesome. Though I received a lot of bids to the Tournament of Champions, I never really won many tournaments. I’d usually end up dropping the elim following the bid round, or drop in semis/finals. That didn’t bother me because I knew I wasn’t perfect. It especially didn’t bother me at tournaments where I ended up the top speaker!
September 28, 2016
The 2AR is easily the hardest speech in LD. Everyone likes to talk about the time skew between a 7 minute NC and a 4 minute 1AR; less oft-discussed is the time skew between a 6 minute 2NR and a 3 minute 2AR. Though in both cases the difference is three minutes, the 2AR is still a more demanding speech, the equal time difference notwithstanding. Whereas the 1AR only has a responsibility to put out arguments, the 2AR has a responsibility to crystallize, or summarize the debate in the Aff’s favor.
September 22, 2016
Now that we have a few tournaments under our belts, and arguments from debate camp have been successfully developed, the September/October topic is getting increasingly more complex. There’s an expanding selection of literature and arguments, a number of which would be successful in a variety of settings. With many more tournaments left to go, let’s try to break it down to some of the major points and strategies.
September 20, 2016
Every year I work as the manager of the National Speech and Debate Association store and help out with the NSDA National tournament, and every year I have countless students who walk up to purchase merchandise, look at my name tag, and say, “You’re Shania Hunt… you write for Champion Briefs, right? I love your topic analysis!” While this might be a humble brag, more importantly, it brings me so much joy to see our clients be thankful and happy with our product. That’s what we here at Champion Briefs aim for.
September 14, 2016
As a former Public Forum debater, I often find myself longing for the good old days of excitedly preparing for an important tournament. The endless time I spent researching and writing, though often tedious, was incredibly well spent. I learned more in debate than I did in any other club, activity, or even in any of my classes. At Champion Briefs, we are all former competitors looking to give back to a community that has taught all of us so much and provided unlimited opportunities for our futures. Statistically, debate has been proven to improve test scores, graduation rates, and is highly appealing to future employers. But personally, debate made me the person that I am today, and as the Editor-in-Chief of Champion Briefs’ Public Forum brief, it’s my job to help others have the same enriching experience I was able to have. Our philosophy here is that debate briefs are a crucial service for the debate community, designed to spur discussion and provide resources to as many corners of the country as possible. We do what we do because we love the activity and know that briefs are an important way to enhance the educational potential of Speech & Debate.
September 7, 2016
Click here to watch Varad Agarwala discuss the 2016 September/October Lincoln-Douglas Debate topic. You'll want this extra analysis to ensure success at upcoming tournaments!
September 5, 2016
Click here to watch Harrison Hurt discuss the 2016 September/October Public Forum Debate topic. You'll want this extra analysis to ensure success at upcoming tournaments!