William & Mary

Government Alum and Award-Winning Journalist Dalton Bennett

Dalton Bennett ’10 from The Washington Post spoke to an overflow crowd of 200 students, faculty and local residents on Tuesday, February 14th in Andrews 101. His topic was “What Covering Donald Trump for a Year Has Taught Me.”

His talk focused on his attempt to understand the bases of Trump support by getting to know a range of somewhat unlikely Trump supporters including members of a garbagemen’s union that had been a bedrock of Democratic support but were now in Trump’s camp, a middle-aged man from upstate New York who had driven to Iowa to work for Trump after his son died of a drug overdose, a mechanic from western Virginia where all the furniture manufactures had closed, and most residents were barely scraping by, and a trucker from Columbus, Ohio who had seen the steel plants he ferried shipments from shutdown, and a former bull-rider from Arizona concerned about job loss to immigrants.

Among other things, he rode 17 hours in the big rig and actually attempted bull-riding himself, resulting in a broken pelvis, and, as a journalist he encountered significant hostility from Trump’s supporters: often egged on by Trump himself. But Dalton was unfazed by any of this in light of the years he has spent as a foreign correspondent, frequently in war zones.
After graduating from William & Mary he sold a valuable guitar and a good bit of his record collection (it still makes him cry) to raise money to go to Kirghizstan to produce political and cultural podcasts. After doing so for a few months, a revolution broke out and he was the only western journalist on the scene taking pictures. After a year in the “Stans” during which he was shot at, beaten, kidnapped and deported, he began working with AP spending time in Ukraine, Libya (where he was with the first group of journalists going into Tripoli with the rebels and was in Mizrata during the siege), Iraq, the Balkans, the West Bank and Greece (writing about the Golden Dawn movement).

In recognition of his work in these arenas he received the 2014 Gramling Award--the most distinguished award the AP gives. He joined the Washington Post in 2015. You can follow Dalton on Twitter at @DDaltonBennett and see more of his work at https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/dalton-bennett/.