About Jim

jimbenning-OB-250I’m a digital media editor with a wide range of publishing and journalism experience. I’ve served as the editor-in-chief of SKYE on AOL – AOL’s weather lifestyle site covering weather news, as well as space, travel, adventure and the outdoors. Before launching and overseeing SKYE, I co-founded the online travel magazine World Hum, leading it through acquisition by the Travel Channel. Widely considered to be the premier site for high-quality travel writing, the site won the gold Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers for best internet travel site, and in 2010, along with NPR, the BBC and Vanity Fair, it was named a Webby Honoree in the writing category. More than a dozen stories from the site have appeared in The Best American Travel Writing anthology.

I’ve written for a wide range of publications. Among my favorite assignments, I enrolled in bullfighting school, worked as a Hollywood extra, reported in Fiji in the midst of a coup and hung out with the writers of the Onion. I spent five months backpacking around Asia and another five in Latin America. My writing has appeared in National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Outside, Playboy, The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Online Journalism Review and Public Radio International. My essay Lust in Translation was shortlisted in The Best American Travel Writing anthology, and other stories, including pieces on Tijuana and Thailand, were published in anthologies from Travelers’ Tales and Lonely Planet. Beyond that, I teach every year at the annual Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers conference, and I’ve taught travel writing at Travel Channel Academy, as well as UCLA and UC San Diego Extension.

Before going freelance, I worked as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register, where I covered breaking news and feature stories.

These days, I live in Los Angeles, where I can be found working on a novel, surfing and eating Korean tacos.