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UA Debate Series launches new podcast series, adapts to pandemic

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As a way to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, the UA Debate Series is beginning a podcast. The first one will be live on Sept. 24. Courtesy George McLoof

The UA Debate Series is launching a podcast version of their debate series this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first live podcast will be released on Sept. 24, 2020.

The UA Debate Series started in 2018 to address matters of public concern on public health, crime, economics, social issues, foreign affairs and entertainment.

This will be UA Debate’s first time doing a podcast. They would normally hold public forums where they would have around 75 to 100 people in attendance, but due to safety precautions for COVID-19, they are not able to hold the public forums. 

George McLoof is one of the people in charge of the podcast series and the UA Debate Series in general. McLoof explained their goal with the podcast is to broaden the scope of how many people they get in touch with since they are not able to do the public forums.

“The public forums are made to elevate discourse in the country and to allow people to listen to more nuanced ideas of controversial issues,” McLoof said.

McLoof added that the public forums are a helpful tool because the audience is able to be engaged by asking questions and voting on the winner. Another goal with the podcast is to broadcast it to people outside of Tucson. By doing a podcast they are also able to have guest speakers from all over the country for each episode. 

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They will be posting the podcast series on the UA website and on their YouTube channel. They will also be doing Facebook lives of the podcast series. The series will be uploaded twice a month.

The first topic they will cover is on podcasts themselves and how they work with the news. Some of the other topics they will cover are police brutality, internet security and voting rights. 

“We are going to have a lot of relevant topics and we're going to allow people to vote for the winners on our website,” McLoof stated.  

They recently bought a bunch of new equipment for the podcast. They have ring lights, high tech cameras, microphones and green screens.

The UA Debate Series typically held in-person debates with large crowds. However, due to the guidance from public health officials, large gatherings are not allowed for the time being. Image courtesy of George McLoof.

“We have five of each, so we are going to bring them to each person’s house so that everyone has an in-home studio,” McLoof said.

McLoof explained that not only is their Debate Series changing due to COVID-19, but some of their other events as well. 

“Normally students will travel to other schools for tournaments, and we also host the statewide high school tournament in January, which will now be held virtually,” McLoof stated.

McLoof explained that students are doing less traveling this year, but they are hosting a tutoring program for local high schools for at-risk youth. The goal of this program is to try to help those students to learn about arguments and how it can help them with their public speaking skills.

To join the UA Debate Series, fill out an internship application on their website.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (10/22)
1,074 8 0.7%
Total (8/4)
54,122 2,441 4.5%
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated October 22, 2020