Washington, D.C., native Bob Jenkins, a journalism graduate of Michigan State University, worked for the Grand Rapids, Mich., Press, then Newsday, on Long Island, before joining the St. Petersburg Times in May 1969. The paper changed its name to Tampa Bay Times in 2012.
At the Times, he served as the editor of its national news section during the Vietnam War and Watergate, as state news editor, city editor for its three home-county regional editions and, for 19 years, was the Times‘ first Travel editor. He and his section won eight first-, second- or third-place honors in the national Lowell Thomas Travel Journal Competition.
But the Times was not immune to the economic pressures assaulting other American newspapers. Thus, after more than 39 years, Bob took a buyout.
Since plunging into the role of freelancer, he has written not only for the Times but also for the San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Miami Herald, USA Today, Newsday, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Southbound and Dreamscapes magazines, Rand McNally (its road atlas and web site), AAA magazines, CruiseCritic.com, and other print publications. He has also updated three guidebooks to parts of Florida.
Bob’s favorite assignments: the Grand Tetons, the pyramids outside Cairo and Jordan’s carved-in-the-mountains Petra. But he a second visit to Venice until he could take his wife, Dianne, “because it is the most romantic city in the world.”
A longtime member of the Society of American Travel Writers, Bob was chair of its 130-member Editors Council for three years, national vice president for two years, and four years the chair of the 250-member Atlantic Caribbean Chapter – comprised of all the states from Pennsylvania south through Florida and his native District of Columbia.
Among other SATW roles, he chaired its membership appeals committee, headed the group that created its Code of Conduct, and served a year as Parliamentarian to the Board of Directors. The Society awarded him its highest honor, Marco Polo status, in 2006.
Bob is in Who’s Who, though he’s not sure why.