Janis Ware continues her father’s legacy at The Atlanta Voice

Teri Saylor

Special to Publishers' Auxiliary

Jun 1, 2022

Janis L. Ware

For 57 years, The Atlanta Voice has been informing, educating and engaging one of America's most dynamic and influential African American communities. Born out of the Civil Rights Movement, the paper has chronicled one of the most significant, volatile and important eras in American history, says Janis L. Ware, publisher.

J. Lowell Ware started The Atlanta Voice in 1966. Janis, his daughter, took up the mantle in 1991 when he died. She was only 35 years old.

“My father was so committed to covering news and information that strengthened communities that he purchased a printing press after the white-owned printing company he used required that the cover story be changed, or the paper would not be printed,” Janis said. “Integration was a hard-fought battle and resulted in important civil discourse as Atlanta became recognized as the hub of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Over the years, the Atlanta Voice has remained in the center of the hard-fought battles for justice and equality.

“Our archives reflect the unique engagement of a citizenry and nation coming of age at a very difficult time,” Janis said.

The newspaper’s motto is: “A people without a voice cannot be heard.”

Janis, also a National Newspaper Association Foundation director, provides a snapshot of The Atlanta Voice and its heritage.


“Our staff is diverse in not only age, but also diverse in identities and race/ethnicity,” Janis said. “We have members on our team from diverse economic backgrounds, as well as members of our management team who identify as LGBTQIA. We actively take steps to address any gaps in diversity in the writers who contribute content to our publication. Our team represents and encourages inclusivity.

“We intentionally engage a multiplicity of voices from various socio-economic, political, class, sexuality, gender identity and even ethnicity lines. We also make a concerted effort to engage black citizens who identify with alternative lifestyles, including those who identify as LGBTQIA.”


“The media, cultural and political landscapes have changed dramatically over the years,” Janis said. “We are only one of three African American owned news weeklies in the Metro Atlanta region. We are, by any measure, the most widely respected, read and circulated medium of its kind in the market. Our ‘still standing’ is a testament to our unique relationship with those we serve and report on.

“Many of the issues that people of color fought to overcome remain relevant today. Journalists of color are still at the mercy of the institutions that they work for. We are committed to original content and telling stories that mainstream media chooses to overlook or are simply unaware of. We tell stories that are uplifting, empowering and motivating for our community while never ignoring the plight of our people. Our purpose has often been to tell the other side of the story.


“In addition to the Atlanta Voice, my father founded and published several other newspapers in the Southeast, including: The Atlanta Inter-Scholastic Journal, dedicated to news within the Atlanta Public School System; The Atlanta Inquirer, dedicated entirely to the student sit-ins and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC),” Janis said. “He also expanded his footprint outside of Metro Atlanta, with the founding of other newspapers in Georgia: The Macon Recorder, The Augusta Voice and The Athens Voice. He also founded The Tuskegee Voice in Alabama and The Pensacola Voice in Florida.”


“After my father’s death,” Janis said, “I took over in a predominantly male industry and dedicated my life and efforts to the important mission of empowering the community with a trusted source of news and information. I led the organization through the introduction of websites, newsletters and the economic crises of 2008. Transformation continued with the introduction of Google, Facebook and Twitter, a further disruption into our ever-changing and challenging newspaper industry/environment, and we are learning to master that space, as well. It is now more mission and legacy preservation than it ever was a job.”


Janis says the best rewards are “connecting with constituents and ensuring that we report on matters that are important in their lives. We report on issues that include local and regional politics, business and human-interest stories while building strong community engagement.”

Top goals include growing audiences on all platforms, identifying funding to support local journalism initiatives and “providing readers with accurate and honest information about matters that should concern them.”


“I always wanted to be in business,” Janis said. “In fact, I earned my bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia in 1977. Being one of the only African Americans and one of the only females in most of my major classes provided me with the confidence to know I could succeed against the odds. My commitment to completing this challenge in some very uncomfortable situations helped propel me through difficult times in business.”


“I enjoy traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends.


“The Atlanta Voice has a combined monthly reach of 500,000, which includes print, digital, website (online content) and social media platforms,” Janis said.
“The print publication is distributed weekly every Friday. The printed publication of 6,500 copies is distributed primarily through drivers in business locations, libraries, newspaper vending boxes and electronically to a distribution list of over 37,000.

“The Atlanta Voice’s mission is to help shape the narrative about the African American diaspora by producing and distributing compelling content across multiple platforms that will change and guide the world’s view of what it truly means to be Black in America.”


Janis Ware, 633 Pryor St. SW. Atlanta, GA 30312
(404) 456-3426, jlware@theatlantavoice.com

Teri Saylor is a business writer in Raleigh, North Carolina. Contact her at terisaylor@hotmail.com.