Alumnus Daniel Penny '16 Receives McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism

BY Nicole Saldarriaga, June 7, 2021

Writing Alumnus Daniel Penny '16 has been named one of the three Spring 2021 recipients of the prestigious McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism. 


The fellowship, which is awarded twice a year based on the strength of an applicant's proposed project, carries a grant of $15,000. Over 100 journalists across a dozen different countries applied for this latest round of fellowships, which were created in 2014 as an initiative of the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Center for Business Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. The grant is awarded in order to "enable experienced journalists to produce deeply reported works of investigative or enterprise business journalism." In addition to the funding, the McGraw Center also assists fellows by providing them with editorial guidance and connections with various media outlets in which to place their stories.


Penny will use his time and resources as a fellow to examine the "economic and environmental effects of the flow of second hand clothes from the Global North to the Global South."

According to Penny, "I’ve been writing about fashion for a few years now for GQ, The New Yorker, and The Financial Times (among others), with a more recent focus on sustainability. In particular, I’ve become interested in the political economy of the fashion industry—the way companies and states use their power to create and maintain inequalities in the fashion system in order to generate huge profits and avoid responsibility for environmental and social costs. This is especially true in the case of second hand clothes, a shadow economy of enormous proportions that stretches around the globe. With the McGraw Center grant, I'll be able to trace those relationships and connections through the stories of the individuals involved, and hopefully, help readers understand the consequences of all their well-intentioned clothing 'donations.'"


Penny, whose critical interests also include art and design, also recently launched a monthly podcast called Art Unscene, which brings together contemporary art and commissioned fiction. 


A native New Yorker with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Columbia University, Daniel Penny recently left Brooklyn for the United Kingdom, where he is a tutor of Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge. He has written about fashion, art, design, and other subjects for many outlets, including GQ, The Financial Times, and The New Yorker, where he was an editorial staff-member. Penny is currently at work on a book about the growth of men’s fashion, its causes and its consequences.