ATLANTA — A beloved leader at the Atlanta Voice newspaper has died. He was 36.
Marshall A. Latimore was the Executive Editor and Chief Content Officer of the largest audited African American community newspaper in Georgia. He died suddenly on Tuesday night, the publisher, Janis Ware, confirmed to 11Alive.
Latimore, a visual journalist who was editor-in-chief and chief content officer of The Atlanta Voice, which calls itself “the largest circulated Black-owned newspaper in the greater Atlanta area,” was found dead in the city Wednesday, Atlanta police told Journal-isms.
“On March 10th, 2021 around 12:52 pm, officers responded to a person down call at the location of [address],” the police statement said. “Upon arrival, officers located an unresponsive male who was not alert, not conscious, or breathing. Grady Ems [Grady Emergency Medical Services, an ambulance provider for medically related calls] pronounced the male deceased on scene and the decedent was removed by the Fulton County Medical Examiner who will lead the investigation to determine the cause of death.”
Latimore (pictured) described himself this way on his LinkedIn page: “A native of Birmingham, Ala., Latimore is an award-winning journalist, having received recognition for his work in the newspaper and magazine industries. In the last two years, he has also served in concurrent roles as a content coordinator for Best Version Media; a digital art director for the Houston Defender Media Group; executive editor for STAYONTHEGO Magazine; creative director for duGard Communications; and creative director for HBCUstory Inc.
“Latimore also formerly worked as a 1A designer and special sections designer for more than 30 Gannett Co., Alabama Media Group and GateHouse Media publications throughout the Southeast, Midwest, New England and central California. He honed his skills in design, photography, video/audio editing at Tennessee State University in Nashville, where he studied journalism and speech communications.
“Latimore holds membership in a number of journalism organizations, including the National Association of Black Journalists, the Society for News Design, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the Online News Association.”
“Marshall stood in the epicenter of this Atlanta treasure as we have transformed The Atlanta Voice into a multi-media powerhouse set to grow our legacy for generations to come.
“His leadership cannot be replaced but his direction will be followed as our mission continues to be a voice for the voiceless. His presence will be missed but his voice will continue on in every aspect of our future.”
The Atlanta Voice is one of 10 Black-owned outlets that have joined forces with the Local Media Association to launch the Fund for Black Journalism, an initiative to reimagine and support the Black press. Others are the New York Amsterdam News, Houston Defender Network, Washington Informer, Dallas Weekly, The Afro, Michigan Chronicle, The Seattle Medium, Sacramento Observer and the St. Louis American.
The Voice was also one of 16 news outlets that received part of $2.4 million from the Racial Equity in Journalism Fund at Borealis Philanthropy. “Marshall wrote the grant. And truth be told, Marshall and the work he did to help bring the paper into the digital era is why we invested,” program officer Tracie Powell told Journal-isms.
In an interview in February 2019 with Zaria Gholston, a mass communications major at Georgia College, Latimore cited covering the gubernatorial campaign of Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams as being his most rewarding experience at the paper.
“ ‘I think we did over 120 headlines covering [Abrams’] campaign from start to finish. We were there when she actually qualified to be the first black woman to run for governor in the state of Georgia, and then we covered everything right up until she finally conceded to [Brian Kemp’s] campaign,’ Latimore said.
Latimore noted “that black publications are important platforms where people of color get to tell their stories, and are just as credible as other mainstream outlets, despite any setbacks they may face.
“ ‘A lot of times people look at the black press as not being as committed to the same level of accuracy, which [sometimes] that has been the case, but it has mostly been because of lack of resources,’ Latimore said.”
Latimore attended Tennessee State University from 2002 to 2011, and there he “honed his skills in design, photography, video/audio editing” and studied journalism and speech communications.”
He was part of the 2017 class for the Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media, “a transformational leadership program for journalists of color.”