Marshall Latimore was a dedicated journalist and mentor who deeply cared about developing black student journalists into professionals. I know at least six students who had contributed to Morehouse College’s student news organization, The Maroon Tiger, before interning under his supervision. I only wish that I had met The Atlanta Voice editor-in-chief and chief content officer before he died in Atlanta on March 10 at only 36.
As the director of Morehouse’s Journalism in Sports, Culture and Social Justice program, I often help students find internships that count toward our journalism major or minor. In the last few years, and especially when internships started to dry up because of COVID-19, I had increasingly turned to The Atlanta Voice as a source of them.
A major reason was that Latimore would oversee their work. Just from talking to him on the phone, I knew they would receive the guidance and editing that they needed to improve, and the opportunity to cover important stories.
What impressed me most about Latimore was the all-encompassing “Welcome” package he sent to Morehouse senior Jalen Lovemore as he began his internship last July. It included a Table of Contents, welcome letter from Latimore, photo and bio for publisher Janis Ware and Latimore, a list of Intern Expectations, an Intern Evaluation listing nine categories on which Lovemore would be evaluated (such as productivity and problem solving), an Intern’s Profile, and a questionnaire about Jalen’s goals.
That is why when I emailed Lovemore about Latimore’s unexpected death, Lovemore’s reply was, “Oh my God! He was such a nice and caring person.”
Latimore, a Tennessee State graduate in journalism and speech communications, was well-known among the black press for his expertise in multimedia journalism. His editing skills left the biggest impression on Lovemore, who shot photos and wrote articles for the Voice.
“I want to say he was very meticulous in his craft of journalism,” Lovemore said. “He taught me how to structure a story through an imaginative eye.”
Alton Pitre considers himself fortunate to have interned under Latimore during Pitre’s last semester at Morehouse, followed by contributing to the Voice as a freelancer. Latimore took a chance on Pitre even though he had struggled academically because Pitre had an abundance of experience as a photographer. Even so, when a Democratic Party primary debate was held in Atlanta, I was surprised when I heard a familiar voice call my name during Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign on the steps of King Chapel. It was Pitre, shooting photos and writing the article about the event.
“I interned with The Atlanta Voice under Marshall’s guidance my last semester at Morehouse after missing out on graduating with the May class of 2019,” Pitre said when he emailed his feelings about Latimore’s death. “Despite me being a tad bitter about having to return, that Fall was hands down one of the best semesters ever at Morehouse interning with the Voice, serving as a liaison between them and the Atlanta University Center.
“Marshall welcomed me to the team with open hands, always extended beneficial duties and new opportunities to me, was always thinking of new ideas and ways to progress the Voice’s new multimedia approach, and highly encouraged me to focus on my personal brand and company outside of my journalistic duties as an intern and then a freelancer.”
Pitre graduated in December 2019 and founded Jungletography, a Los Angeles-based company that tries to connect urban culture and commercial society through the media.
“Marshall was a humble man who loved his job and others,” Pitre said. “I’m going to truly miss Marshall. I learned a lot from him as an intern that’s serving me well in my endeavors and career today.”
Former Maroon Tiger staff members Sydney Haywood from Spelman College and Isaiah Johnson and Jair Hilburn from Morehouse also interned under Latimore. So did Emani Rashad Saucier, who formerly was The Atlanta Voice’s video director.
“Marshall played a major role in my journey to journalism,” Saucier said. “He had a hand in my acceptance into the NNPA (National Newspaper Publishers Association) internship that changed my life and also gave me my first job as a journalist.
“I was never a fan of being a contributor to written journalism until challenged to do so by Latimore during my internship, where I wrote my first story. The challenge would persist until I finally landed a cover story with The Atlanta Voice in late 2020, all orchestrated by Marshall.
“He impacted so many others by leading with compassion and empathy and had a way of communicating with people that motivated them to be their best selves. He’ll truly be missed by all who he touched.”
This article first appeared in The Maroon Tiger (maroontigermedia.com) on March 25, 2021