Prep like a Pro – News Outlets for Extemp by: Hope Rawlson

Let’s say you were about to start a years worth of soccer competition. If you were seriously trying to be at least decent you would never skip all the practices and show up to the first game completely unprepared. That’d be ridiculous and you’d definitely lose. No, you’d take the time beforehand and make sure you know how to play and play well.

It’s true with soccer and it’s true with extemp. The key to succeeding is to prepare and prepare well! If you are looking for accountability, fun, and guidance- check out Lasting Impact’s new Online Extemp Club! If you are ready to get started now… below is a list and analysis of the resources for extemp that helped me go into every tournament last year feeling completely prepared and ready to take on any topic that came my way!

These are resources that worked really well for me. Everyone is different and everyone learns differently. Use these as you want, you know how you learn best! I can say that these resources helped me not only be good at extemp but really, truly love extemp.

The Essentials

(I made it a daily priority to listen to these during the entire season including pre-competition)

The Intelligence Podcast from The Economist
Really important international analysis. Very high-level and interesting about international topics that you WILL get topics on but regular news stations will NOT cover.

Daily Briefing Podcast from Al Mohler
News from a Christian perspective (recommended by my highly educated, extremely intelligent AP Gov and Politics Teacher). Covers domestic and international politics very thoroughly. Gives really great background information and goes in-depth on topics. He also routinely covers everything to do with abortion, LGBTQ, and related topics and argues from a Christian perspective which I find personally helpful and helpful for extemp.
(sometimes I get tired of listening to him so I’d listen to The Daily or read the Economist magazine instead which works as a substitute)

The Helpful and Interesting

(I listened to some of these a couple times a week, essential for the in-depth knowledge you need, but not a daily or exhaustive necessity. BUT very helpful. For example, a Worldly episode I listened to last September was so memorable and so good it became my entire second point in my nationals finals speech.)

The Economist Subscription
Really high-quality analysis and interesting/important information about events occurring in the U.S. and internationally. Convenient because there is also a short section that summarizes the daily news. Most of the articles can also be read aloud for those audible learners like me out there. Only drawback — you gotta pay for it. Brightside — not super expensive.

Through-line from NPR & Embedded from NPR
Both of these give in-depth analysis of really complicated issues such as the history of Islam, understanding China’s authoritarian regime, the investigations into Trump, etc. These are great for being able to have that cool analysis that kicks your extemp speech seriously to the next level.

Wordly from Vox
This gives entirely global information and analysis which is super important and helpful. They also are funny sometimes which helps to be able to slyly copy their jokes in your extemp speech (which I have totally done).

The Daily from NY Times
Gives in-depth information on something that is happening currently, usually domestic news. They don’t give as much analysis as other news sources but they are helpful for understanding complex topics that are currently happening. Not essential but also not non-essential.

The Interesting but non-essential

(I wouldn’t say I used information that these gave me in extemp speeches usually, but they are interesting and I’d listen sometimes anyways)

Ben Shapiro
I am not a die-hard listener and didn’t listen during most of the competition season but he has interesting analysis. Like everything, would not make him the only or main thing to listen to.

Planet Money from NPR
Very interesting information on random topics that wouldn’t seem interesting but surprisingly are very interesting…

Today Explained from NPR
Not my favorite but another podcast which breaks down things happening currently. This is a very left podcast so don’t just listen to this one (in the same way that you shouldn’t just listen to a right podcast).

EconTalk from Library of Economics and Liberty
He is an economics expert and covers more general topics such as trade and nationalism which don’t correspond to the news as much but are very interesting and extremely educational.

The biggest resource I would suggest is taking a class on something extemp related. Last year I took AP Comparative Government and Politics which single-handedly transformed my year in extemp. I used information from that class in almost every single extemp speech I gave last year. Take U.S. Gov, Economics, or Comparative Government and Politics for general life and for amping up extemp!!

Hope has competed in speech and debate for over 6 years. This has become her love and her passion. She constantly strives to push herself to be the best competitor she can be. This has led her on a journey of learning how to compete to her full potential and glorify God through competition. Culminating at 2019 NCFCA Nationals, God blessed Hope to win Extemp, Moot Court and Lincoln Douglas. Additionally, she became the first person in Stoa or NCFCA to win two styles of debate at one national championship.
Hope knows that you have a potential for success inside of you – whether that success is shown through tournament wins or a lifetime impact on others – and she is dying to help you stretch yourself to reach your full potential!