Student Spotlight: Laney Mayfield, junior, majoring in journalism
Mayfield strives to tell stories and report on news in the most interesting yet accurate way possible.
“When someone trusts me with their story, I know it’s my one and only job to tell it back as best as I possibly can,” said Laney Mayfield, a journalism student at Auburn University.
Mayfield has gone above and beyond in doing what most journalists strive to do their entire career: tell stories and report on news in the most interesting yet accurate way possible.
Originally from Memphis, Tenn., Mayfield moved to Alabama when she was 16 years old. When thinking back to her first few months in her new home, she says, “When I first moved to Alabama, I knew nothing about Auburn. In fact, I was even getting the logos confused between Auburn and Alabama.”
Flash forward a few years later, and Mayfield has fully immersed herself in all that Auburn has to offer. A third-year student majoring in journalism and minoring in psychology, Mayfield is involved in numerous on-campus organizations that she says have paved the way for both her current and future successes.
Mayfield says she chose Auburn specifically because of its successful and high-ranking journalism program. She was interested in investigative reporting, broadcast journalism, and news writing, and when she found out that the Auburn University College of Liberal Arts excelled in all three, she knew it was meant to be.
“I decided to take a tour here [Auburn University] and I fell in love with the small-town, the people and the staff that welcomed me. My advisor treated me like royalty before I was even a student here, and I felt like it was the best environment for me. I’m a Southern girl and I don’t like cold weather, and because Auburn was one of the best schools in the South for what I wanted to do, I knew it was the right place for me.”
Currently, Mayfield is both a reporter for Eagle Eye TV, Auburn’s only student-run television station, and a columnist for the Auburn Plainsman, an award-winning student newspaper affiliated with Auburn University. In addition to student media, Mayfield is extremely invested in volunteering with both the East Alabama Food Bank and Project Uplift, an “agency whose main goal is to help children develop constructive, happy lives so that the delinquency rate in Lee county will decrease.”
In high school, the student media organizations Mayfield joined kickstarted her love for journalism. She says she “had the pleasure of interviewing one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s classmates, and after that, realized ‘You know what, I kind of like this journalism thing.’”
After she developed a passion for journalism in high school, Mayfield transferred her passion over to Auburn when she decided she wanted to make a full-time career out of something she so thoroughly enjoyed in her free time. “Student media has taught me that journalism is more than standing in front of a camera with your hair and makeup done. It has shown me that journalism is hard work and a lot of people crack, but on the other hand, it’s hard work and a lot of people do really well,” says Mayfield.
Mayfield says she has a passion for storytelling and getting to the who, what, where, when, why and how. "As a journalist, I want to be able to remain neutral in all situations. It’s not about your story or how you feel, it’s about what’s actually going on.”
In 2020, one of the organizations Mayfield is involved in, Eagle Eye TV, was nominated for six awards by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System as part of the 2021 IBS Awards. Mayfield, on behalf of Eagle Eye TV, was nominated for the Best Video News Report.
She covered the 2020 Primary Elections at the Boykin Community Center, and although it was pouring rain and spirits were low, she was still able to interview voters on camera, discussing each of their candidates and how they felt like their candidate could make a real difference in their potential new office.
“When I woke up that morning, it was pouring rain. It was thundering and lightning, and I had a bunch of equipment with me that really couldn’t get wet. I felt discouraged because I was unsure of how I would get their story if the weather was so bad,” said Mayfield.
Luckily, she knew how important it was to share the stories of people who were voting in our nation’s elections, and because she wanted to share the best story possible, she buckled up and covered the primary elections anyway.
Mayfield said, “Winning the IBS award for best video news report would be great, but regardless, I’m extremely proud of the story I was able to tell.”
Post-graduation, Mayfield has dreams of working in media. Ultimately, she wants to be a reporter.
After spending time in a newsroom, she is interested in getting her master’s degree in order to strengthen her skills. At some point, she also looks forward to writing a book and becoming a professor.
If she were to give one piece of advice to someone who wanted to go into either the fields of journalism or reporting, she would tell them to “Follow your passion. Figure out what makes you happy and do it. If you settle for something and you know you’re not happy with it, it will never be a good outcome for you. You matter and the things you do in life matter, and if you’re not happy, it’s not worth it.”