The Staten Island, New York, native has dreamed of attending the games since he was a young child, and turned his Emerson career into covering everything Olympics as a major in the Journalism Department.
“It’s really surreal,” Penny said. “I’m not that into the so-called normal sports, like football and baseball. I love gymnastics and figure skating.”
In his current role for the U.S. Olympic Committee, Penny manages editorial content on teamusa.org, as well as the committee’s mobile and tablet apps.
“I work with some of the country’s top freelance sports writers,” he said. “I assign and pitch them stories, work with them on story ideas, and edit them as they come in.”
Those stories include numerous profiles and features on U.S. Olympic athletes.
“I love telling the stories of the world’s best athletes; it gets me excited,” Penny said. “As the games get closer, athletes get a lot of great media attention, sponsorships, and other amazing opportunities.”
Beginning his freshman year, Penny became involved in WEBN-TV and the Radio-Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2010, he produced a 90-minute special on the 2010 Winter Olympics for WEBN, which had him travel to Lake Placid, New York, and other locations to shoot stories on the athletes.
Shortly thereafter, Penny landed a summer internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado, where he works today. In total, Penny held two internships and became a freelance writer with the committee before he was hired full time in May 2012. He worked as a web producer for NBC’s Olympics website, nbcolympics.com, before then.
“I got a lot of great experience,” Penny said of his time at NBC. “The Olympics aren’t just every four years, they’re every day. There’s a lot going on with the athletes, like national and international competitions. There’s always a great story to cover.”
Penny recently pulled his first “all nighter” while working for the U.S. Olympic Committee, poring over employee’s schedules before flying out to Russia to cover the Olympic games.
“As stressful and crazy as it is, I can’t complain at all,” Penny said. “I’m extremely lucky to be doing what I’m doing.”