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Ailsa Chang

Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who covers criminal justice, terrorism and the courts for WNYC. She found her way into public radio after practicing law for five years, and can definitely say that walking the streets of New York City with a microphone is a lot more fun than being holed up in the office writing letters to opposing counsel.

Since joining WNYC in 2009, Chang has earned national recognition for her investigative reporting.  In 2012, she was honored with the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, one of the highest awards in broadcast journalism, for her two-part investigative series on allegations of illegal searches and unlawful marijuana arrests by the New York City Police Department.  The reports also earned an honor from Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Chang has investigated how Detroit's broken public defender system leaves the poor with lawyers who are often too underpaid and overworked to provide adequate defense.  For that story, Chang won the 2010 Daniel Schorr Journalism Award, a National Headliner Award and an honor from Investigative Reporters and Editors.  

In 2011, the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association named Chang as the winner of the Art Athens Award for General Excellence in Individual Reporting for radio.  She has also appeared as a guest on PBS NewsHour and other television programs for her legal reporting.

Chang received her bachelor's degree in public policy from Stanford University, her law degree from Stanford Law School, a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Masters degree in media law from Oxford University where she was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar.

She was also a law clerk to Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Before her arrival at WNYC, Chang was a Kroc Fellow for National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. and a reporter for KQED public radio in San Francisco.  She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ailsa Chang appears in the following:

Lobbyists Spending Millions To Sway The Undecided On Iran Deal

Thursday, August 06, 2015

The groups' targets? Democrats undecided on whether to accept or reject the deal when they vote this fall. The campaigns include tens of millions of dollars spent on TV ads in nearly two dozen states.

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Planned Parenthood Opponents Talk Government Shutdown After Bill Fails

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

An effort to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding failed in the Senate on Monday, but the fight isn't over. That was only the opening volley in a larger funding battle to play out in September.

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Obama Administration Officials Defend Iran Nuclear Deal Before Senate

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Secretaries Kerry, Munoz and Lew defend the Iran nuclear deal on Capitol Hill Thursday before a panel that includes several skeptical lawmakers, including two Republican presidential candidates.

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Father Of Slain San Francisco Woman Testifies Before Congress

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Senators heard emotional testimony Tuesday from the father of a San Francisco woman allegedly killed by a man who entered the U.S. illegally and had been deported five times. Her case has drawn scrutiny to so-called sanctuary cities.

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Congress To Begin 60-Day Review Period Of Iran Nuclear Deal

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lawmakers in Congress have 60 days to review the nuclear deal with Iran. NPR looks at the agreement's prospects on Capitol Hill.

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A Conservative Firebrand From The Start, Ted Cruz Always Had A Plan

Friday, July 03, 2015

Long before Cruz was the Texas senator commandeering the Senate floor, he was a teenager reciting conservative, free-market ideology.

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Senate Votes To Push Forward White House Trade Plans

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Senate cleared a big hurdle Tuesday in an elaborate plan crafted by Republican leaders to get President Obama what he wants on trade, despite significant opposition from Democrats.

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Republicans Don't Have A Plan Yet To Replace Obamacare Subsidies

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

If the Supreme Court finds health care subsidies unconstitutional, conservatives will boast a win over Obamacare. But Republicans face a challenge — many of their constituents are getting subsidies.

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Under New Rules, NSA To Again Access Americans' Phone Records

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The new rules rely on phone companies to collect the data. The altered approach was approved by the Senate on Tuesday, matching a version the House passed to update the Patriot Act.

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Senate Allows 3 Provisions Within The Patriot Act To Expire

Monday, June 01, 2015

After a rare Sunday Senate session, three provisions within the Patriot Act expired at midnight — including a program that allowed the government to collect the phone records of millions of Americans.

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Presidential Hopeful Bernie Sanders To Face Test In New Hampshire

Friday, May 29, 2015

Sanders officially kicked off his campaign this week to much fanfare in his home state of Vermont. But if he hopes to prove he's more than a fringe candidate, he needs to do well in New Hampshire.

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Sen. Sanders Launches Longshot Presidential Campaign In Vermont

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sen. Bernie Sanders kicked off his campaign in Burlington. He lags behind Hillary Clinton in the polls, but his supporters say this is the guy who comes from behind and surprises you.

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Senate Advances Bill To Give Obama 'Fast-Track' Trade Authority

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Senate is trying to wrap up its business before leaving Washington, D.C., for a week-long recess. That includes considering a bill to give President Obama expanded authority on trade.

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Sen. Rand Paul Ends 'Filibuster' Over NSA Surveillance Program

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Rand Paul voiced his opposition to the Patriot Act, which authorizes bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the government. Paul says collecting the records is an assault on civil liberties.

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Lawmakers Divided Over McConnell's Desire To Extend Surveillance Plan

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to extend the provision of the Patriot Act that authorizes the NSA's bulk collection of phone records before it expires. Others want the program reined in.

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A Trade Deal Read In Secret By Only A Few (Or Maybe None)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

To study the draft Trans-Pacific Partnership text, senators have to go to the basement of the Capitol and enter a secured, soundproof room and surrender their cellphones.

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Vote On Obama's Fast-Track Trade Bill Blocked By Senate Democrats

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats kept trade legislation from moving forward, dealing a blow to President Obama's agenda. Republicans and the White House now grapple with what comes next.

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Senators Deny Obama Authority To Expedite Pacific Trade Deal

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The U.S. Senate blocked a measure that would give President Obama fast-track trade authority to complete a massive Pacific trade deal. Most of Obama's opponents on trade come from his own party.

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What Eye Contact — And Dogs — Can Teach Us About Civility In Politics

Friday, May 08, 2015

Don't look at me! In Minnesota, lawmakers are banned from making eye contact during debate. The idea is it leads to more civility. But does it? And what can animal science teach us about it?

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Full Senate Debates May Reveal Recent Bipartisanship As An Illusion

Saturday, May 02, 2015

On the committee level in the Senate, Republicans and Democrats have been able to get deals done. The problem will be what happens after bills leave the committees and head to the Senate floor.

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