Richard Kahn, president of Kahn Communications (pictured here), wrote us yesterday to let us know that Tim Benford, a former editor at Travel Agent, had passed away at the age of 67.
Here, Kahn, a former Editor-in-chief of Travel Agent magazine, shares his memories of his former competitor and colleague.
“Tim Benford was a true cigar-smoking journalist with a passion for the news. He was an editor with Travel Weekly back in the late '60s and early '70s working out of the printing plant in New Jersey. He had the distinction of being the only editor working for all three of the major trades in the '70s, having worked for me at Travel Agent for a year after Travel Weekly closed the in-plant editing operation and then on to become editor of Travel Trade for a short period. He then went to work for Morris Silver Associates in public relations and ended up starting his own firm in the eighties.
I met him a couple of times in the early '70s at cocktail parties and then again in 1973 when I became editor of Travel Agent and went out to see our new printer– Jersey Printing –the same place that Travel Weekly was printed. When I saw him there, I said ‘I know you– don’t you work for Travel Weekly?'; He said yes and he recognized me, too, and wanted to know ‘what the heck I was doing out there spying on him.’ When we realized that we were both printing in the same plant, he and I agreed that we would make sure that we didn’t talk to each other until our respective publications went to press. For more than two years we kept the secret from our editors or publishers.
We sat on either side of a wall, but outside of hearing distance and kept our news stories to ourselves, never breaking the trust of our superiors. After going to press we would compare breaking news and kept an ongoing record of who beat who with what stories. When Travel Weekly would beat Travel Agent to the news of the day, he would sing out and gloat ‘Hey, Richie Kahn, your nose for news is running weak this week’ and he would blow a puff of cigar smoke at me. I can still see him puffing and chewing on those ever-present cigars. He will be missed.”
Travel Agent invites its readers and the travel community to share their memories of Tim Benford below.