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KOCT has launched its Career Ready program for college students to learn storytelling through film. Courtesy photo/KOCT
KOCT has launched its Career Ready program for college students to learn storytelling through film. Courtesy photo/KOCT

KOCT preps college film, media students to be ‘Career Ready’

OCEANSIDE — A group of local college students studying film, media and writing has kept busy over the summer break by learning the art of storytelling with a camera.

Over the summer, Oceanside-based KOCT TV, North County’s only television station, launched its Career Ready program, teaching eight college students, including one recent high school graduate, how to use industry-standard equipment and techniques in a “real-world production environment.”

KOCT, designated and funded for public access purposes, is offering the Career Ready program through a county grant.

While students attend different universities and colleges across the state, they are either North County locals who have returned home for the summer break or who attend one of the nearby colleges.

Similar to an internship, the KOCT Career Ready program preps its students for future jobs in film by providing real experience working in a studio, interviewing news sources, editing projects and working together with others as a team to produce content.

“We teach true broadcast,” said KOCT Executive Director Carly Starr. “We’re teaching these students quality broadcast standards that we ourselves follow.”

One of the state’s few remaining public, educational and government access channels, KOCT has won a number of awards over the years, including several Telly Awards, which receives over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents each year.

Students in KOCT TV’s Career Ready Program interview Oceanside lifeguards for a story. Photo courtesy of KOCT
Students in KOCT TV’s Career Ready Program interview Oceanside lifeguards for a story. Photo courtesy of KOCT

While the channel works with the city and local school district to broadcast council, commission and board meetings, the channel also works with local non-profits, businesses and leaders in the city to tell community stories and stay up to date with what’s happening in Oceanside.

For students learning a trade under the media studies umbrella, which includes film, journalism and other forms of communication, experience outside of the classroom can be incredibly useful – and also challenging.

Earlier in July, the group headed to the coast to hear from lifeguards who are now in charge of safety services at the Oceanside Harbor. It was a memorable and teachable experience for the student news team, who learned what mistakes could happen on the job – like driving to the wrong location – and how to bounce back from them.

For Will Winkler, a film student at MiraCosta College, working with KOCT has familiarized him with cameras and other technology beyond his phone.

Students in KOCT's Career Ready program. Courtesy photo/KOCT
Students in KOCT’s Career Ready program. Courtesy photo/KOCT

“Before I didn’t have much experience with real cameras – everything I did was on my phone,” he said. “It’s been an interesting shift figuring things out on my own and also working with people.”

Winkler also learned how to conduct interviews, something he and some of the other students had little to no experience with before the program.

“My skill set has expanded a lot because of that experience,” he said.

Josh Peterson, who previously interned with KOCT before joining the career-ready program, hopes to add the content he has made in the program to his reel – a demonstration of his best film work – to his application for film school as he transfers from MiraCosta College to San Diego State University.

Peterson hopes to pursue a career in Hollywood feature films.

“Being in a working studio environment and understanding the workflow and timing of things has been a really valuable experience for me,” Peterson said.

Reese Manber, who is studying film and media studies with a minor in theater at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was previously acquainted with KOCT as a broadcast journalism student at El Camino High School.

Manber’s teacher, Sharon Strong, introduced the class to the television station, which is why she was eager to return as an intern.

“Growing up I always enjoyed being on camera and acting, and through broadcast journalism, I fell in love with the behind-the-scenes work,” Manber said. “I’ve been able to broaden my horizons over the past couple weeks… learning how to work with a team on projects, splitting up the work, and putting it all together to make something we’re proud of has been really cool.”

Starr hopes to continue the program and is currently searching for academic and nonprofit sponsors for future dates.

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