The Best Sources

With any argument there needs to be substantial sources provided to validate the point being made. The stronger the sources are, the stronger the argument will appear. Extemporaneous speakers cite from various articles and publications, but very few are actually reputable. Without valid sources it does not matter how many citations there are--quality means more than volume. One credible resource is worth more than five biased, poor ones (it is an issue of accuracy and trust; the BBC is far more credible than Wikipedia--as there are better sources than the BBC). Thus, this article will outline major types of authoritative sources and why they will provide any Extemper with the necessary information they need in order to succeed in building credibility.

The Christian Science Monitor

This is one of the most-quoted International news source in Extemp. The Christian Science is a publication that is known for its in depth research on topics ranging from domestic issues to international affairs. Therefore, it is an Extemper’s dream. In addition, they provide up to the minute stories on breaking events, and this is especially critical during election time when polls keep changing. Another advantage to this publication is that it is relatively unbiased. Or as unbiased as a news publication can be.

The Economist

This is many Extmeper’s personal favorite resource for many reasons. First of all, the writers of The Economist are all leaders in their field with many years of proven success and understanding on the issues of which they write. Secondly, the organization of The Economist magazine is unprecedented. It is a weekly publication (thus full of new, up-to-date information) and is divided into sections that are clearly marked. There is a section on America, Britain, The Americas, Asia, Finance, Inventions, etc. Within each of these categories are many more specific articles on the general areas that are listed above. Another advantage to using The Economist is that it is easily accessible during a tournament. As it is so highly organized, The Economist makes for quick research and referencing during prep. For those interested in the magazine’s slant, it leans to the left (liberal) side. Though, overall it tends to be pretty fair and objective on all issues. It is also important to note that this publication will mostly be used by Foreign Extempers. Even the issues that are concerned with America tend to view them in relation to the world and how our actions will affect the countries around us.


Forbes Magazine is also an Extemper favorite. This publication is especially useful for Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking. Forbes is one of the best in areas concerned with American businesses and finance. Forbes should be consulted any time a question is asked about the stock market and current trends. Another advantage of Forbes is that they release their yearly list of the 400 biggest companies in America. This is important because it provides Extempers with the statistics that are needed to substantiate their arguments regarding the future growth of corporate American. Questions concerning the rise and growth of Walmart and Exxon Mobil are types of issues regularly addressed in detail in Forbes. In addition, there are also many authoritative, analytical articles of tech companies (including the surge of Google and Apple over the past decade). The only thing to point out is that Forbes is a conservative publication. However, Forbes still releases a great publication that focuses more on the business then the politics involved.

While there are many good sources, it is important to note that there are a few sources that should not be used. Do not quote from CNN or Fox News. Both of these publications are on the extreme ends of the spectrum, and therefore they are more apt to contain biased information. Fox can lean too far into the Conservative camp, and CNN sometimes goes too left-wing. Try to find sources that tend to fall in the middle and objectively give the facts. Remember, Extemp is not just about persuading an audience. It is about picking a side and standing behind it with the proper foundation of points supported with the argument of experts.

These are just three of the best sources for Extemporaneous Speaking. There are many sources that can be used, but few offer such a solid combination of authority and bipartisanship. In addition, these publications are very organized and come out often enough where there is plenty of material to quote from on any given topic.