City innovators meet for ThinkFest

Philadelphia Magazine will host ThinkFest Nov. 6, a one-day event addressing Philadelphia’s future.

In his regular video series, Philly Makers and Uncover Philly, Temple alumnus and multimedia journalist Cory Popp explores remarkable and little-known stories within Philadelphia. At Philly ThinkFest Nov. 6, Popp will join 22 other speakers for an all-day discussion about the city.

Hosted by Philadelphia Magazine, Philly ThinkFest is a one-day event centered on Philadelphia’s future.

Popp, a 2013 journalism alumnus, along with co-panelists Conrad Benner and Emma Fried-Cassorla, will host a discussion panel called “Philly’s Digital Storytellers: Impact and Engagement for a New Generation.”

The panelists will discuss the role of independent journalists, filmmakers, Instagrammers and bloggers and their emergence into Philadelphia media.

“It used to be that only big media companies could afford to report the news because of the large barrier to entry in the market place,” Popp said. “But as we’ve seen over the last few years, the Internet has uprooted those traditional models. Now anyone can be a journalist, and in really different, creative ways never seen before. We’ll be talking about what that might look like over the next several years.”

Innovation is a major theme at this year’s ThinkFest, in fields ranging from media to healthcare and business. Philadelphia “thought leaders” will be hosting discussions like, “The Business of Diversity: The Hidden Secret to Supercharging Philly’s Tech Scene” and “Made in Philadelphia: How the City of Firsts Continues to Innovate,” to capture the energy of local innovators and spark a lasting conversation about Philadelphia’s place in the global idea market.

“I’m excited to hear what ideas other leaders have for Philadelphia,” Popp said. “I’ve said this for a while, and I really believe it; Philadelphia is having its moment. Public pride and respect for Philadelphia is at an all time high, and this momentum has the potential to make us a world-class city.”

ThinkFest, which will take place at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, boasts a line-up featuring Gov. Tom Wolf and Mayor Michael Nutter. Other prominent voices include Comcast’s Chief Business Development Officer Sam Schwartz, novelist and New York Times columnist Jennifer Weiner, and Broad City co-creator Abbi Jacobson.

Popp’s time at Temple prepared him for his current career as a filmmaker and journalist, as well as a progressive Philly thinker. He loved the freedom of the journalism department, which allowed him to pursue unconventional interests.

Popp used that freedom to take on three internships in media production and marketing for local nonprofits during his senior year at Temple.

“Those gave me a creative and entrepreneurial space to try out different interests, see what I liked and what I didn’t,” Popp said.

Now, in preparation for ThinkFest, Popp wants to share his passions for creative storytelling, Philadelphia media and progress with his audience.

“I hope to inspire people to create things, and pursue them professionally,” he said. “Publish things and spend time trying to get them seen.”

Erin Moran can be reached at

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