In July of 2021, Klein College of Media and Communication established the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation Center for Urban Investigative Reporting (Logan Center). Less than two years later, the center has received its first award recognition for one of its projects, a podcast about the use of stop and frisk policing techniques in Philadelphia.
Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist is a five-episode series from the Logan Center and one of its partners, WHYY. Stop and frisk is a procedure in which police can stop anyone they suspect may be involved in criminal activity and pat them down to see if they are carrying anything from guns to drugs that may further incriminate the individual.
Though many people think that stop and frisk increases tension between citizens – particularly people of color – and police, others are beginning to wonder if the tactic could lead to a decrease in gun violence in the city.
After shootings on South Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway over the summer, city leaders began to float the idea of revisiting the implementation of stop and frisk. This caught the attention of Logan Center Director and Professor of Practice Yvonne Latty.
At first, Latty couldn’t imagine that neighbors in the Philadelphia community would even consider stop and frisk. But Latty decided she needed to investigate for herself, and thus the podcast was born.
“The Stop and Frisk: Revisit or Resist podcast and multimedia project produced by WHYY News and the Temple Logan Center demonstrate what a poignant collaboration between a public media newsroom and a public university looks like,” wrote Vice President of News and Civic Dialogue at WHYY and Executive Producer of the podcast Sarah Glover.
Glover greenlit the podcast after Latty and Gun Violence Solutions Report at WHYY Sammy Caiola came to her with the idea.
The podcast begins at a community meeting where people voice support for stop and frisk. Latty and Caiola spend the first four episodes of the series interviewing Philadelphians and getting out in the community to gain perspective on the uptick in violence in the city. Episode five, co-hosted by senior media studies and production student Kole Long, is a panel discussion with community members. They discuss how we can move forward to reduce gun violence, and whether stop and frisk is a part of that solution.
“It was very validating work. It was a really hard project to do, and I’m so happy that it resonated with people,” Latty said.
One group that found that podcast particularly impactful was the Pen & Pencil Club, one of the nation’s oldest press clubs. Each year, the club nominates projects for its annual Pen & Pencil Philadelphia New Awards, and the public votes on the winners.
Latty and Caiola attended the awards ceremony on January 26, 2023. They were elated and honored to find out that the podcast won investigative journalism project of the year amongst so many other strong nominees.
“[It’s important] having a place like the Logan Center that’s focused on real investigative journalism without forgetting the humanity of the things you are investigating,” Long said.
Long had been working on a documentary with Latty when she asked him to help moderate the solutions panel episode. Though he was nervous, Long noted that Latty and Caiola made him feel comfortable in the studio and that the conversation naturally felt like the ones he usually has.
Latty is especially proud of episode five, as thinking about solutions is just as important as the investigation in the first place.
“We all have to feel a responsibility toward making this city safer, and that really is the goal, if anything, of the podcast,” Latty said.