Before moving to Harvard, Benton was an investigative reporter and columnist for The Dallas Morning News and a staff writer for The Toledo Blade. He won numerous national awards for his reporting, most notably on education. He wrote a series of stories on cheating on Texas' state test, the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, which led to state reforms and the permanent closure of the Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District.
He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, a Pew Fellow in International Journalism at Johns Hopkins University, and a Jefferson Fellow at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii. At Yale University, he was editor-in-chief of The Yale Herald. Benton was also an early blogger at crabwalk.com.
- Nieman Journalism Lab
- Nieman press release Archived 2010-07-02 at the Wayback Machine.
- Past winners Archived 2010-11-06 at the Wayback Machine. of the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting
- Asimov, Nanette and Todd Wallack. "Stakes too high to just check erasures, experts say", San Francisco Chronicle, May 13, 2007.