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Roundtable: How 9/11 Changed San Diego

The U.S. flag waving in front of the Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego on June 12, 2019.
Alexander Nguyen
The U.S. flag waving in front of the Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego on June 12, 2019.
KPBS race and equity reporter Cristina Kim hosts a special look at how the September 11th attacks were covered in San Diego and how the affects linger in our community 20 years later.

Reporters Tell The Story


For those who were working journalists, the 9/11 attacks quickly became an all-engulfing story for months. Investigative reporter Amita Sharma was with KPBS at the time. She talks with us about the rush to cover reaction here in San Diego. Shortly after the attacks, an investigation revealed that some of the hijackers were living in the San Diego region and preparing for their part in the crimes that killed nearly 3,000 people.

RELATED: How Has Media Coverage Of The ‘War On Terror’ Changed Since 9/11?

9/11 And San Diego’s Military

The military response to the 9/11 attacks relied heavily on armed forces based in San Diego, especially U.S. Marines from Camp Pendleton. Tony Perry was the San Diego bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times in 2001 and eventually made several trips to Afghanistan to report on efforts to capture or kill al-Qaida militants who plotted the attacks. He tells us about the young men and women called upon to fight in what ended up being America’s longest war.

RELATED: Veterans Of The War In Afghanistan Reflect On The Rapid Collapse


Local Muslims Endure Backlash

Much like the experience of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s, Muslim and Arab Americans faced a serious backlash following the 9/11 attacks that included a spike in hate crimes. Sarah Hassaine shared some of her experiences as a member of that community in a guest column published by The San Diego Union-Tribune. She joins us to explain how these groups are still dealing with suspicion and exclusion 20 years later.

RELATED: Hate Crimes Reach The Highest Level In More Than A Decade

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.