Plans to raise profile of community access media

Community Access Media Alliance champion Sasha Borissenko, of Auckland, and OAR FM community...
Community Access Media Alliance champion Sasha Borissenko, of Auckland, and OAR FM community liaison Jeff Harford discuss future ideas for the organisation. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The new national champion of community-made media, Sasha Borissenko, got her start in Dunedin - studying at the University of Otago and broadcasting on Radio One.

Since then, the Auckland-based journalist and lawyer has had a varied print and broadcast journalism career, including reporting for Fairfax, legal publishing, feature writing, and as part of the Newsroom team which broke the Russell McVeagh legal firm sexual assault and harassment story in 2018.

Ms Borissenko now writes a column on legal matters for The New Zealand Herald and teaches journalism at the Massey University campus in Auckland.

During a visit to Dunedin last week, to talk strategy with Otago Access Radio staff, Ms Borissenko said her enthusiasm for radio and journalism began when she was Radio One news director, under then Radio One station manager Lesley Paris.

Ms Paris is now Otago Access Radio station manager.

"So, in taking on this job, I feel like I am coming home really," Ms Borissenko said.

As national "champion" for the 12-station Community Access Media Alliance (CAMA), her aim is to help raise the profile of access media, build relationships, and advocate for the diverse communities represented by the alliance.

"What is awesome about OAR, and access media as a genre, is that it has had no boundaries - so it has been able to develop to suit its communities."

Along with having dedicated radio listeners, OAR has embraced the popular field of podcasts - episodic series of spoken word digital audio files that can be streamed or downloaded to devices.

OAR community liaison Jeff Harford said the station podcast all of its locally-made content, and was a leader in the sector.

"Last year, our website had 720,000 hits on OAR FM-created content, which was outstanding," Mr Harford said.

Through her role as CAMA champion, Ms Borissenko aims to support that goal by ensuring that as many people in New Zealand know about access media as possible.

"From an ethical standpoint, I fundamentally believe in it [access media].

"From being involved in mainstream media, I feel it is lacking in integrity, and that connection to the community.

"Access media is about valuing community and also recognising diversity, and that is fundamental."

Ms Borissenko plans to create a campaign to highlight the value of access media around New Zealand.

"The stations are all incredibly different, but they all service their communities in their own way."

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