San Diego News Fix

San Diego Union-Tribune


Get the story behind the story every weekday. Host Kristy Totten interviews Union-Tribune reporters about what matters in San Diego.

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1132 episodes

The Backstory: The reasons why prosecutors opted not to file criminal charges in SDSU rape case

Rarely, if ever, is the public made aware of the reasoning behind a District Attorney’s Office’s decision not to file charges in a case. The Union-Tribune obtained an audio recording of a meeting between the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the 18-year-old woman who said she was raped by three now-former San Diego State University football players. The recording provides insight into why the DA’s Office decided not to file criminal charges. Union-Tribune public safety editor Dana Littlefield, public safety reporter Teri Figueroa, public safety reporter and Saturday editor Lyndsay Winkley, managing editor Lora Cicalo, and editor and publisher Jeff Light discuss the latest developments in the case.

May 07, 2023
The Backstory: The Poway case being heard by the Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will take up a case from Poway Unified School District that tackles a contentious area of social media — when, and if, public officials can block people from their Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts. The case concerns a former Poway school district trustee, T.J. Zane, and a current member, Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff, and their Facebook and Twitter pages. At issue: whether public officials with social media pages where they discuss public business can block individuals, or if doing so violates the First Amendment. Union-Tribune criminal justice and legal affairs reporter Greg Moran, enterprise editor Kristina Davis, editorial and opinion director Matthew T. Hall, managing editor Lora Cicalo and publisher and editor Jeff Light discuss the case.

Apr 30, 2023
The Backstory: The Union-Tribune’s Community Voices Project

The Union-Tribune’s Community Voices Project is an online platform for civil discourse about news of the day and matters of the community. It brings dozens of thought leaders together with the goal of sharing diverse points of view to move toward a stronger, more inclusive San Diego region. Union-Tribune editorial and opinion director Matthew T. Hall, deputy editorial and opinion editor Laura Castañeda, managing editor Lora Cicalo and publisher and editor Jeff Light discuss the origins and goals of the Community Voices Project.

Apr 23, 2023
The Backstory: Behind the Union-Tribune’s 72 Hours project

San Diego County, like many places nationwide, faces a mental health crisis. For three days last year, nearly two dozen journalists with The San Diego Union-Tribune followed patients, police, clinicians, dispatchers and a host of others struggling for help to create a minute-by-minute account of our overwhelmed system. Union-Tribune public safety editor Dana Littlefield, communities editor Tarcy Connors, managing editor Lora Cicalo, and publisher and editor Jeff Light discuss this in-depth multi-media special report.

Apr 16, 2023
The Backstory: Customers are steamed over SDG&E’s rate-hike proposal

San Diego Gas & Electric is making a case before the California Public Utilities Commission to increase rates starting next year. SDG&E says it needs money for critical projects, like wildfire safety and pursuing clean energy goals. But many San Diegans are frustrated with rising gas and electric bills. The average price for electricity in the San Diego metropolitan area is currently higher than anywhere else in the country. Given that tension, could asking for higher rates right now backfire? Union-Tribune money reporter Roxana Popescu, topic editor Dan Beucke, managing editor Lora Cicalo, and publisher and editor Jeff Light discuss some of the challenges of reporting on this story.

Mar 19, 2023
The Backstory: The San Diego Union-Tribune stops running ‘Dilbert’

Hundreds of newspapers across the country – including The San Diego Union-Tribune – have either stopped or will stop running the “Dilbert” comic strip after its creator made racist comments during a YouTube livestream Feb. 22. Angela deJoseph, founder of Women of Color Roar, a nonpartisan multimedia organization that supports, nurtures and encourages Black women to seek careers in public service and run for political office; Michael Cavna, visual artists and comic art writer at The Washington Post; Union-Tribune managing editor Lora Cicalo; and publisher and editor Jeff Light discuss the offensive remarks and the decision to stop running the “Dilbert” comic strip.

Mar 01, 2023
The Backstory: What determines where a story runs in the newspaper?

In this episode, we’re taking a closer look at a couple of recent stories that had a lot of people talking. First, allegations that Padres beat writer Kevin Acee misquoted Padres pitcher Nick Martinez in one of his stories. (Spoiler alert: Acee did not misquote Martinez). The other story involves a longtime Del Mar Union school board member who resigned after officials announced he had been arrested in Florida on suspicion of soliciting prostitution. Union-Tribune sports editor Ryan Finley, managing editor Lora Cicalo and publisher and editor Jeff Light discuss the the flap over the Nick Martinez story and what determines where stories run in the newspaper.

Feb 26, 2023
The Backstory: How the deaths of three sisters affected those making humanitarian water and supply drops in San Diego County

The number of migrants who have died or gone missing trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has sharply increased in recent year from an estimated 371 in 2020, to nearly 600 in 2021, to more than that last year. Humanitarian water and supply drops along the border have taken on a new urgency in the wake of the spike. Union-Tribune federal courts and law enforcement reporter Alex Riggins, enterprise editor Kristina Davis, managing editor Lora Cicalo, and publisher and editor Jeff Light discuss how the deaths of three sisters in particular has affected the efforts of border aid groups.

Feb 19, 2023
The Backstory: The controversy surrounding Scripps Mercy’s new chief of staff

Scripps Health announced last month that physicians at Scripps Mercy Hospital named a new chief of staff. The announcement of Dr. James Grisolia’s selection praises the neurologist’s accomplishments and notes that he is a nearly 40-year veteran of Mercy’s medical staff. Union-Tribune health care reporter Paul Sisson, communities editor Tarcy Connors, managing editor Lora Cicalo, and publisher and editor Jeff Light discuss why some are calling the announcement very controversial.

Feb 12, 2023
The Backstory: Santee residents debate transgender policy

Protests have taken place in Santee over the last couple of weeks after a 17-year-old girl complained about seeing a transgender woman in the women’s locker room at the Cameron Family YMCA. The incident and the protests have garnered national attention. Union-Tribune managing editor Lora Cicalo, and publisher and editor Jeff Light discuss the U-T’s coverage of the protests and some of the decisions the newsroom has had to make while covering this ongoing story.

Jan 29, 2023
Farewell from the San Diego News Fix

Hi everyone, Kristy from the News Fix here. Yesterday was our last official episode, but today I just wanted to come on and say thank you for listening. I've been honored to host this podcast, bringing you the news directly from the Union-Tribune writers who report it. It's also been incredible to learn more about our region from the people who make it so great. The Backstory will continue to publish on our website at, and if you're wondering what I'm up to, you can find me on Twitter at @kristy_tea. Thanks again for listening, everyone. It's been a blast.

Jan 22, 2023
The Backstory: The real cost of child care in California

California has several subsidized child care programs that help families pay for child care and fund many of the state’s tens of thousands of child care providers. But that aid reaches only a small fraction of families who need it – and many providers say they aren’t paid enough to cover their costs. Union-Tribune education reporter Kristen Taketa, government and watchdog editor Sam Schulz, managing editor Lora Cicalo, and publisher and editor Jeff Light discuss how the system is falling short, and who is paying the price.

Jan 22, 2023
Meet Captain Liz Clark — surfer, sailor and environmentalist

Captain Liz Clark is from Point Loma, and learned to surf and sail here before going to college at UC Santa Barbara and setting out on a 12-year sea voyage, sailing around the world mostly by herself. She chronicled her adventures in "Swell," a memoir published by Patagonia in 2018. The book captures the beauty of her travels, but also hardship and difficulties she faced both within herself and in the outside world. Captain Liz lives in Tahiti now where she runs her own environmental non-profit. She joined me from beneath a thatched roof on her new property, where the sun was shining and birds were singing. You can hear some of that in the interview. Here's our conversation.

Jan 20, 2023
San Diego may fare better than other cities in coming recession

San Diego economists say a recession is definitely coming, but they also say our region may weather it better than most. Business reporter Phillip Molnar attended the San Diego County Economic Roundtable this week.

Jan 20, 2023
The history of Lunar New Year and where to celebrate around San Diego

Lunar New Year is Sunday, Jan. 22. Each year is represented by an animal on the Chinese zodiac calendar, and this year, it's the rabbit or the cat, depending on who you ask. Carlos Rico is a community guides reporter and is here to share more.

Jan 19, 2023
In California, subsidized child care is chronically underfunded

State-subsized child care often does not cover the true cost of child care. That's the top-line finding from the second report in a new series about child care from U-T reporter Kristen Taketa.

Jan 18, 2023
Birch Aquarium sees its first-ever pregnant male seadragon

For the first time ever, the Birch Aquarium is home to a pregnant male seadragon. Leslee Matsushige is the aquarium's resident seahorse expert.

Jan 15, 2023
The Backstory: New sports editor joins the Union-Tribune team

Union-Tribune publisher and editor Jeff Light, and managing editor Lora Cicalo introduce us to Ryan Finley, the U-T’s new sports editor. Ryan Finley joined the paper Jan. 9. He succeeds Jay Posner, who retired in December.

Jan 15, 2023
More high-rise and backyard units could be coming to San Diego

A controversial proposal to allow high-rise housing and backyard apartments in San Diego made progress Thursday when it was approved by a key committee. David Garrick covers the city of San Diego for the Union-Tribune.

Jan 14, 2023
Highlights from Mayor Todd Gloria's State of the City address

Mayor Todd Gloria gave his 2023 State of the City address Wednesday, where he highlighted housing, homelessness, infrastructure and more. U-T engagement editor Bella Ross was there.

Jan 13, 2023
Del Mar Fairgrounds could be getting a makeover. Here's what's in store.

The Del Mar Fairgrounds could be getting a makeover. Tuesday, the state institution that governs the land voted to hire a consultant to come up with ideas for possible improvements. U-T business reporter Jennifer Land has been covering this story.

Jan 12, 2023
Child care support in California falls short

Childcare can be one of the most expensive aspects of having children. In San Diego, the going rate is $1,500 per month for infant care. In California, help paying for childcare is available, but as a new series by U-T reporter Kristen Taketa shows, the programs fall short, failing to help hundreds of thousands of families.

Jan 11, 2023
SDG&E natural gas prices are doubling. Here's why.

As gas prices are dropping around the country, SDG&E natural gas prices are expected to double this month. Rob Nikolewski covers energy at the Union-Tribune.

Jan 10, 2023
'I lost a soccer jersey signed by Pelé'

Pelé was a Brazilian soccer player who, by all accounts, changed the game. Ricardo Campo is the president of the San Diego Loyal soccer team, and once had the opportunity to spend a week with Pelé in New York. Here's his story.

Jan 08, 2023
More storms headed for San Diego, and the drought is far from over

San Diego and California in general have been pummeled with rain recently. How long will it continue and what does this mean for the drought? U-T reporter Gary Robbins has more.

Jan 07, 2023
PedWest border crossing is set to reopen

The PedWest crossing at the U.S.-Mexico border will reopen on Jan. 9, after being closed for almost three years, since the pandemic began. Reporter Alexandra Mendoza has more.

Jan 06, 2023
Your guide to an epic year in San Diego in 2023

To help make this year your best yet, the U-T guides team has put together a mega guide called "How to have an epic year in San Diego in 2023." It includes things like a San Diego bucket list, best hikes, how to make friends as an adult and more.

Jan 05, 2023
San Diego business stories to watch in 2023

2023 is here, and the Union-Tribune business team has compiled a list of 12 stories to watch this year. Business reporter Phillip Molnar has more.

Jan 04, 2023
Doing Dry January? Here's a guide to mocktails in San Diego

It's January, and for many that means the beginning of Dry January. But just because you're not drinking alcohol, doesn't mean you can't have a an interesting drink. Community guides reporter Carlos Rico shares mocktail recommendations around San Diego.

Jan 01, 2023
U-T Opinion announces its 2022 San Diego Person of the Year

Welcome to the San Diego News Fix. Each year, the U-T Editorial Board chooses a person of the year. Editorial and Opinion Director Matthew T. Hall discusses this year's pick.

Dec 31, 2022