Jim was born in Beckley, WV. When he was 8 years old, Jim's family moved to Oak Hill, WV where his father, a pharmacist, ran an old-fashioned drug store that became the town hang-out. Jim graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. He has been a news photographer for WSAZ for the past 25 years. Jim enjoys biking and has a 2nd-degree black-belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Jim is married to Dr. Mindy Backus, a professor in the College of Education and Human Services at Marshall University. His older daughter, Chelsea, is a graduate of Ball State University. Jim's younger daughter, Analisse, is seven years old and full of energy.
Jim has won many awards for photojournalism, including an Edward R. Murrow in 1998.