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:

Same-Sex Spouses Turn To Adoption To Protect Parental Rights

Friday, September 22, 2017

If a man and a woman are married and a child is born, the man is automatically a parent. But if a woman who gives birth is married to another woman, parental rights are not guaranteed for her spouse.

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'The Autobiography Of Gucci Mane': A Story Of Rap And Rebirth

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks to rapper about his new book, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane. It traces his life as an artist who forged an unlikely path to stardom and personal rebirth.

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After Hurricane Katrina, Many People Found New Strength

Friday, September 15, 2017

A long-term study of people who survived Hurricane Katrina found that most were doing well, and some feel the experience transformed them. But others remain haunted by anxiety and depression.

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Stores Full Of Furniture, 'Mattress Mack' Opens His Doors To Flood Victims

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

As Houston started to flood, small-business owner Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale posted a Facebook message urging people who needed shelter to come over. Hundreds streamed in.

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Morning News Brief: Party Unity Tested, Far-Right Weekend Rallies

Friday, August 25, 2017

Tension between Capitol Hill and the White House is threatening the GOP's legislative agenda. Far-right groups have set their sights on San Francisco and Berkeley for weekend rallies.

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Civil Rights Activist Argues To Keep Confederate Monuments

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta and African-American civil rights activist, says the fight to remove monuments memorializing the Confederacy alienates potential civil rights allies.

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News Brief: Trump Unveils Afghan Strategy, He'll Hold Rally In Phoenix

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

President Trump didn't disclose the number of additional troops his administration will send to Afghanistan — though it's reported to be about 4,000. Trump holds a campaign rally Tuesday in Phoenix.

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Morning News Brief: Trump's Afghan Strategy, Total Solar Eclipse

Monday, August 21, 2017

In a televised address Monday night, President Trump will lay out his strategy for Afghanistan. And for the first time in nearly a century, the moon will completely block the sun in parts of the U.S.

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Morning News Break: Political Fallout From White Nationalist Rally

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

President Trump on Monday delivered a statement directly calling out the hate groups behind the violence in Charlottesville, Va. And, 3 CEOs resigned from Trump's advisory council on manufacturing.

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News Brief: Trump Speaks Out About North Korea, Opioid Crisis

Friday, August 11, 2017

President Trump says his promise to meet Pyongyang's threats with "fire and fury" might have been too soft. And, he says he's ready to declare the nation's opioid crisis "a national emergency."

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Morning News Brief: North Korea Sanctions, Venezuela's Political Crisis

Monday, August 07, 2017

The U.N. Security Council voted to impose sanctions against North Korea for its missile launches. Anti-government fighters infiltrated a Venezuela military base — trying to start an uprising.

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Morning News Brief: Trump Backs Merit-Based Immigration System

Thursday, August 03, 2017

The president says the system is so unfair that he wants to cut legal immigration in half over the next decade. In West Virginia, he'll point to the bill as way he's made good on a campaign promise.

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Trying To Understand 'What Made Maddy Run'

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Journalist Kate Fagan's new book digs into the life of a young woman whose suicide shocked the University of Pennsylvania, where she ran track. Madison Holleran's life seemed perfect, until it wasn't.

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Familiar-Looking Numbers Are The Latest Twist In Robocalls

Monday, July 31, 2017

Ailsa Chang looks at a now rampant kind of robocalling — neighbor spoofing. These are automated calls coming from phone numbers that look strangely similar to the recipient's own phone numbers.

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Episode 786: Rest of the Story 2017, Vol. 1

Friday, July 28, 2017

News moves fast. Some of our best stories from this year have new chapters. Here, we catch up on three: Dirty trademarks, trading bots, and the war against the bald eagle.

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Episode 784: Meeting The Russians

Friday, July 14, 2017

That meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer was two decades in the making. It began in 1996, when an adventurous American went to Russia, trying to make a buck.

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Opioids As The New Big Tobacco

Friday, June 30, 2017

A wave of litigation by state attorneys general against the biggest opioid manufacturers and distributors feels reminiscent of lawsuits brought by states in the 1990s against the tobacco industry.

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Episode 774: Unspeakable Trademark

Friday, May 26, 2017

You can name your business whatever you want. But the government won't register it as a trademark if it thinks it's offensive. It gets weird when you try to decide what is too offensive to trademark.

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Economists Debate If Tax Cuts Pay For Themselves

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

A decades-old economic theory is making a comeback. The theory: tax cuts can pay for themselves. Trump administration advisers have repeated this mantra to explain their corporate tax rate cut.

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Lawyer Behind West Virginia County Lawsuit Against Opioid Distributors

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pharmaceutical distributors — the middle men in the opioid epidemic — have already been paying out millions to federal and state law enforcement officials for the companies' role in the crisis. But a new front in the legal battle against opioids has opened. One personal injury lawyer in small-town West Virginia has come up with a creative legal theory to go after these distributors so that small, ravaged communities can collect too.

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