Youth-led news collaborative tackles issues at the heart of Philadelphia

- POPPYN, an award-winning, youth-led news program, tackles issues central to the city of Philadelphia: gentrification, community development and the criminal justice system, among others.

Created in 2011, POPPYN (Presenting on Perspective On Philly Youth News) lives up to its namesake.

The collaborative, which operates under Temple’s University Community Collaborative, brings together local high school students with Temple counterparts to produce four 30-minute segments per year.

The program was born during a time when negative narratives surrounding Philadelphia youth—particularly young people of color—were heavily featured on local news, according to POPPYN manager Nuala Cabral.

“The young people in our program said ‘Hey, were not all dangerous and out of control, why aren’t we seeing those narratives in media?’” Cabral explained on Good Day Weekend.

Now, those students can see their stories reflected in a media landscape that often overlooks them.

Graduates of the program, like Joshua Childs, Stormy Kelsey and Destani Cook, have gravitated to Temple to continue on the path shaped for them by POPPYN.

The collaborative, though, doesn’t measure its success by a student’s commitment to life in media.

“It’s about encouraging people to tell their story and raise awareness about issues that young people are facing but may not have the language to articulate,” Cabral said.

“We’re hoping that the work will not only raise awareness among people in Philadelphia, but with policymakers.”

Cabral points to one episode centered on the city’s foster care system, which was shown to Philadelphia’s City Council.

“We’re trying to highlight the voices you don’t see in mainstream news,” she said. “But you can see them on POPPYN.”

POPPYN airs every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on Philadelphia’s Public Access Channel. Episodes and segments are also available online.

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