Founder, president and full owner of Benton Communications, Inc., Nicholas F. Benton is also the editor-in-chief of the Falls Church News-Press, and has written every one of its editorials since its founding in March 1991. Since September 1997, Benton has also written a weekly national affairs column published in the Falls Church News-Press and on its web site. He is the author of the vast majority of articles in the newspaper relating to local and regional politics. Since August 1998, he has also drawn and published a weekly cartoon in the newspaper called “Nick Knack.”
Born February 9, 1944 in Ross, California, Benton graduated from San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, CA in 1961, with an Associate of Arts degree from Santa Barbara City College in 1963, a Bachelor of Arts from Westmont College, Santa Barbara, in 1965, and a Masters of Divinity with honors from the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA, in 1969. He was the editor of his student newspapers in both high school and college. Serving as a youth director at a church affiliated with the United Church of Christ (with which Benton is still aligned), Benton became an Anti-Vietnam War activist and in 1970 co-founded the Berkeley Gay Liberation Front. He wrote the editorial for the first edition of the West Coast’s first gay newspaper, Gay Sunshine, and was the chief correspondent on gay and anti-war issues for the pioneer alternative newspaper, the Berkeley Barb from 1970-73. He ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1975 as a candidate of the U.S. Labor Party and later as a Democrat he ran a write-in campaign against Ron Paul for Congress from the 22nd District of Texas in 1982, for mayor of Houston in 1983 and unsuccessfully for his party’s nomination to run against Tom DeLay in 1984. During this period, he was an advocate for the Parsons Company’s Alaskan water diversion project known as the North American Water and Power Alliance, founding a political action committee with the late Sen. Frank Moss on its behalf known as NAWAPAC. From 1985-87, Benton was a White House correspondent for the Executive Intelligence Review before founding and becoming full engaged with what became Benton Communications in 1987.
Since founding the Falls Church News-Press in March 1991, Benton has served 18 consecutive years on the Board of Directors of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, including two terms as its president (1993-94), and he has twice been honored as the recipient of the Chamber’s “Pillar of the Community” award (1992 and 2003). In 2007, Benton was named the “Business Person of the Year” by the Falls Church City Council. He was named to the “Media Honor Roll” by the Virginia School Board Association in 1998 and received the Hodding Carter Outstanding Journalism Award from the American Society for Public Administration’s Northern Virginia Chapter in 2005. In addition to the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, Benton is on the board of directors of the Falls Church Education Foundation, the Creative Cauldron Arts Education Group and the Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Club. He is a member of the National Press Club, the Federal Club of the Human Rights Campaign, the Victory Fund, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and First Congregational Church of Washington, D.C.
On October 22, 2009, Benton devoted his weekly national affairs column to an autobiographical declaration of his personal values and beliefs, entitled, “I Am a Human Capitalist.” Aligning himself with the 1948 United Nations “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” he wrote that “human capital, as opposed to finance capital, social Darwinist or free market capitalism…promotes policies that focus on the investment of capital the empowerment of human beings, who are, in fact, by far the most valuable commodity and potential source of new wealth and stability on the planet.”