News from Vermont Debate AKA The Voice of Edwin is the weekly newsletter of the Edwin Lawrence Debate Union at the University of Vermont, an endowed co-curricular program which trains students in debating and sponsors national competition and community events. The newsletter is published every Tuesday during the school year and infrequently at other times. Alfred C. Snider is the Director. 802-656-0097 voice, 802-238-8345 mobile, 802-656-4275 fax, email@example.com email, and http://debate.uvm.edu/ldu.html web site.
| Photos of previous panelists |
It started in 1992 when Karen McGregor of Adelphia Cable's public access channel suggested that the debate team at UVM start a television program. That first program, covering the race for the White House between George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton and Ross Perot, began what has become a tradition not only on the part of the Lawrence Debate Union but also in the free speech environment that exists, more or less, in Burlington, Vermont. The original format of the program has not changed in the years that followed, a 30-minute fast paced discussion of an important issue by debaters, alumni, coaches and faculty connected with the LDU. The program has emphasized the reality that normal citizens can gather information about complex subjects and then express themselves in an informed and articulate way. Experts have never been a part of the Flashpoint model, and while some panelists have been better informed than others, there has never been a deference to those with expert claims. In an era when citizens believe the major issues confronting them are too complex and too difficult for them to understand and have well-established positions about, Flashpoint has shown the reverse. "If it is an important issue, we have discussed it," said LDU director Alfred Snider, who has hosted the vast majority of the programs. "We bring new and interesting information and focus on important areas where we think the media has dropped the ball." John Meany of the Claremont Colleges, a former UVM coach, has hosted the most programs besides Snider, often while he has been in residence during the World Debate Institute programs during the summers.
The venue of the program has changed as well. From a small one-room studio in Williston where Adelphia Cable began its public access channel, channel 15, to the spacious and well equiped studio of the latest host for Flashpoint, Vermont Community Access Media, located in Burlington's south end. The equipment has been upgraded through the years as well. Karen McGregor still remains as the director of the program. Flashpoint has also been on location many times, having taped programs at Huber House on the UVM campus, at speak outs in front of the Royall Tyler Theatre, and in distant locations such as Beijing, Seoul, Inner Mongolia and high in the Chilean Andes. The look of the show had changed from time to time, with a simple black backdrop, a color separation overlay (blue screen) with psychedelic images (from Jeff Cooper), classical scenes or shots from outer space, to elaborate overlays of the panel and their faces to give a layered look. The program has had numerous sets of credits, from the initial simple lettering to the current animated logo. For many years the theme music has been a composition by Burlington musician Stu Nelson. One feature that has remained consistent through the last ten years is the closing of the show, where panelists look into the camera, point, and say "Think for yourself!" "I am always entertained by that," notes Snider, "because it seems paradoxical to command people to think for themselves. But then, paradoxes can open space for new thinking. I believe this is an example of that."
Flashpoint programs are shown three times a week on Burlington's cable channel 15, and for quite some time they have been at 12:30 PM on Wednesday, 10:30 PM in Thursday and 1 PM on Saturday. Flashpoint is also available for "on demand" viewing from the LDU's website, and many programs are available at http://debate.uvm.edu/flashpoint.html
Many, many debaters and coaches have appeared on the program. While Snider has been on the largest number of shows, many others have racked up a considerable string of appearances. Current UVM coaches Greta Lockwood and Charles Hoag may well be leading the pack, although no exact counting has been done. Students and others are encouraged to put these appearances on their resumes. Many have reported that in job interviews the program strikes the interest of the prospective employer and they ask about it, serving as an ice-breaker and a demonstration that this particular job candidate has strong oral communication skills, something employers are desperate for in their hires.
Last Saturday programs number 295 and 296 were recorded. Program 297 will feature footage from the LDU's Fall speak out. Another taping is scheduled this year for shows 298 and 299. The new year will feature the taping of the 300th program. The 200th program featured a large number of veterans from the program, including Maxwell Schnurer, David Berube, Jason Jarvis, John Meany, Terry McKnight, Justin Morgan Parmett, Sarah Snider, Karen McGregor (in her only on-camera appearance) and many others. It was streamed live over the internet. Ideas are currently percolating for the 300th program, and suggestions are being accepted. The taping may also be arranged so that previous panelists can pay a return visit. There has even been some talk of holding a party where the program will be taped. Karen McGregor is also said to be working on a short collage of Flashpoint scenes through the years. Let us know if you have ideas or suggestions.
"I never thought it would become the tradition it has," noted Snider. "People recognize me almost every day because of this program, people stop me to mention issues raised by the program, and I have even received free meals based on what we said during our restaurant review segments. I never thought it would reach even 100 programs, not to mention 300. I guess the next milestone is 500 programs."
Stay tuned for more developments.
Tuesday evening Vermont Public Radio will feature another debate between Vermont governor James Douglas and the challenger, Burlington mayor Peter Clavelle. LDU debaters have been invited to join the audience and ask questions. After all the publicity debaters have been getting surrounding the presidential debates, this is a fitting conclusion. October 26, from 7-8 PM on VPR, the event will be held in the Eli Long Music Center at Forth Ethan Allen. Representing the LDU will be Charles Hoag, Brady Fletcher, Chase Whiting, Shane Clark, Emily Sanders, and others.
NEWS AND NOTES OF THE LDU FAMILY
(firstname.lastname@example.org) checks in:
" I was happy to see that you all had a good time watching the final presidential debate and a pretty damn good start for the LDU this year. Congrats to Nick, Edwin, Tarik and Ashley for their win at Rochester!!! I'm currently working for the Kerry-Edwards campaign in central Wisconsin as a field coordinator and am now helping put together the largest Get Out the Vote effort that Wisconsin has ever seen. We're down to the final 7 days and we're working long and hard to make sure that we get every single Democratic vote out on election day here in Wisconsin, which Al Gore won in 2000 by only 5600 votes and which will be the state that puts John Kerry over the top on election night this time around. Also, I know that back in May you all mentioned that you might need help for the Columbia tournament. I can help out judging up there if you are going to need someone since I'll be back east in DC after the election, so let me know."
Charles Morton (CJMorton@aol.com) writes:
"I hope you are well. Congrats on a great start. I am looking to hire a second or third year associate for my firm (Venable) to work in Baltimore on a broad collection of primarily transactional related work. I am looking for someone with the intellectual curiosity and work ethic that is the hallmark of the LDU. Do you know of anyone who might be looking for a switch? Only candidates with top academic records will make it through the screening process. I can promise big firm compensation, with small firm collegiality as I continue to build out my little firm with a big brand."
SEND US NEWS ABOUT YOUR LIFE AND EVENTS IN IT! LDU ALUMNI LOVE TO KEEP IN TOUCH!
|SEMESTER ONE||SEMESTER TWO|
10/16 Rochester 37-42
10/30 West Point
11/20 Wake Forest
12/4 U Mass
|1/5-7 North Texas
1/9-11 Texas at Dallas
2/26 CEDA East/District 8 (Vermont)
3/5 JV/Novice Nats at Georgetown
3/19 CEDA Nats at San Francisco State
4/? NDT Nats at Gonzaga, Spokane, Washington
-- NOW WITH OVER 295 DIFFERENT PROGRAMS!
Watch Flashpoint from your computer screen whenever you want! You will need RealPlayer installed on your computer to become a part of our growing audience. Here are some recent programs now available at http://debate.uvm.edu/flashpoint.html. Watch on Burlington Channel 15 Wednesday 12:30 PM, Thursday 10 PM, Saturday 1 PM.
COUNTDOWN TO PROGRAM #300 BEGINS
Now in the 290s it is only a matter of time (and not a very long time) until Flashpoint reaches its 300th show. Ideas are being sought for how this show should be done. Let us know of any ideas.
NOTES FROM MONDAY NIGHT'S 6 PM MEETING:
NEW RESEARCH ASSIGNMENTS
GIVEN OUT, DUE THURSDAY; OLD ASSIGNMENTS DUE WEDNESDAY.
GOVERNOR DEBATE: At VPR on 10/26, ask questions as well as be in audience. NEED A RIDE? BE AT HUBER HOUSE AT 6 PM. Charlie, Brady, Chris, Chase, Shane, Emily and maybe Kayce.
Begin planning now for the Texas Swing, Novice and JV Nationals at Georgetown, and CEDA Nationals in San Francisco. The early bird gets the plane ticket!
Harvard: Edwin Owusu, Nick Landsman-Roos with Adam Lee.
West Point: Sanders & Kimerer, Hitchcock & Rosato, Cardan & Anderson, McMahan & Nelson, Hogan & Fletcher, Gagnon & Silverman, Whiting & Clark, Turco & Shappy, Campbell & King, Len & Whalen. HELP! WE URGENTLY NEED MORE JUDGING!
WEST POINT DEPARTURE -- 8:30 AM FRIDAY!
Rich High School has a debate club and we should help them. Greta will get more information.
Edwin performing at Nectar's Monday night at around 9 PM.
UVM DEBATE WAS #10 IN THE CEDA
NATIONAL SWEEPSTAKES FOR 2002-2003.
UVM DEBATE IS #18 IN THE CEDA NATIONAL SWEEPSTAKES FOR 2003-2004.