Alumni News

WebMD Magazine Executive Editor, FAMU SJGC alumna Laura J. Downey Named President of SPJ Georgia

SJGC Staff
SJGC Staff

Executive Editor of WebMD Magazine and FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (FAMU SJGC) alumna Laura J. Downey has been named president of the Georgia Professional Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists, making her the first Black person to hold the role.

Downey brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position. In her esteemed journalism career, she’s been a fashion/entertainment editor, a magazine journalism professor and Journey Magazine advisor at FAMU SJGC, managing editor of 944 Las Vegas and Vegas/Rated magazines, as well as Atlanta Best Media’s eight publications, and She served as senior executive editor for Modern Luxury corporation before spending 18 months as a full-time freelance travel journalist.

As an active member of SPJ Georgia for three years, she also serves as a Board Member At-Large and events coordinator.

In 2021, she was selected as a 2021 Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program Fellow for the Society of Professional Journalists. Additionally, she’s a graduate of the 2022 Maynard 200 Fellowship’s Executive Leadership track. The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding diversity in the news media and dismantling structural racism in newsrooms. 

Her success has been recognized by Florida State University (FSU) where she was featured as a 2022 FSU Black Alumni Black History Month Spotlight. FSU’s official alumni publication, VIRES Magazine, highlighted her accomplishments in its spring 2022 issue.

Downey holds a master’s degree in journalism from FAMU SJGC and bachelor’s degree from FSU. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Ministry at Richmont Graduate University.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, playing basketball, giving back to her community, and fitness.

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