Sandhya Dirks


Sandhya got her start as a reporting fellow at KALW, working on award winning radio documentaries about crime and justice and education in Oakland. She reported on the 2012 presidential election in Iowa, for Iowa Public Radio, where she also covered diversity and mental health issues.

As a politics reporter in San Diego at KPBS, she helped lead an investigation into sexual harassment charges against the mayor that resulted in his resignation. For that reporting she was named, along with her team, San Diego's Journalist of the Year by the local Society of Professional Journalists. Sandhya also reports for NPR, Latino USA, and PRI's The World. 

She returned to KALW to continue her work on criminal justice, poverty, and the changing community of the Bay Area. 

Sandhya studied at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, where her masters project, an investigative documentary film about international adoption, received the Pasty Pulitzer Fellowship. 

She lives in Oakland with her two cats. 



Thu November 6, 2014
Arts & Culture

Audiograph's Sound of the Week: Diwali

Ramesh Japra, chairman of the Fremont Hindu Temple, dances at a Diwali celebration.
Sandhya Dirks

All week long, we've been playing this sound, and asking you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

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Tue October 21, 2014

Oakland Mayoral Race '14: Candidate Jean Quan

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is running for re-election
Flickr user Jill Karjian


Mayor Jean Quan is the incumbent in the race, and she's been making the case for Oakland to give her a second term. But in the past four years, her leadership of the city has received mixed reviews. She has been criticized for her crackdown of the Occupy encampment. She has also been taken to task for troubles in the controversial Oakland Police Department, which has had a federal monitor and rapid turn-over at the top. But Quan says the city is better off than it was four years ago. She says violent crime is down and the city is finally on the right track.

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Mon October 20, 2014
Arts & Culture

Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz: A dissident superstar gives voice to political prisoners

"With Wind," an instillation at Alcatraz by the Chinese dissident, Ai Weiwei.
Sandhya Dirks

The dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has become something of a superstar in America. He is known for his provocative artwork, his outspoken critique of Chinese policy, and for his imprisonment by the Chinese government.

Ai has been under house arrest in Beijing since 2011, but that has not stopped him from making work internationally. He just opened a massive and unprecedented installation, @Large, on the former prison island of Alcatraz.

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Fri October 10, 2014
Arts & Culture

City Council Meeting: Political Theater

Setting up a performance of the play, City Council Meeting
Sandhya Dirks

The importance of what actually transpires at a city council meeting can get hidden behind seemingly boring procedure – the shuffling of papers and the issuing of proclamations. But behind the bureaucracy there are real people fighting small but important battles; battles like what to do with six inches of sidewalk, or how to raise the minimum wage. At city council meetings everyone gets a chance to speak. During public comment, the working mother and the downtown developer have the same amount of time to make their point of view known.

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Mon October 6, 2014
Cops & Courts

Urban Shield: Training or militarization for first responders?

Inside the Urban Shield trade show
Sandhya Dirks

For the past eight years, one weekend in late summer brings first responders from across the country and around the world -- firemen, medics, SWAT teams and police officers --  to Alameda County for Urban Shield, one of the largest law enforcement training exercises in the country.

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