During this competition season, there has been a surge of interest in recording rounds at local tournaments (audio, video, live-stream, social media posts, and transcription). While the decision on a policy to allow or disallow this practice is one that should be made by each tournament at the local level, the Stoa Board would like to remind our members there are some areas of concern:
Many states have specific laws governing the recording of minors, the use of recordings, and who is allowed to give permission to record. It is the responsibility of tournament leadership to know these laws and to create responsible policy to be in compliance with them.
Regarding the use of recorded rounds to assist with judging decisions, we believe that it is profitable to consider the analogy of using instant replay in sporting events. Speech and debate rounds ought to be judged based on the “play on the field” rather than a post-round analysis by judges.
Please remember that there are laws concerning recording others. Students need to have the permission of their parents or guardian before they can be recorded. Tournament directors, coaches, and parents can help students know how to best navigate these situations.