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:

Congress Passes Funding Bill To Avoid Government Shutdown

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Congress passed a bill Wednesday funding the government through mid-December. The bill does not restrict federal funding for Planned Parenthood.


Boehner To Step Down From Often Thankless Job. What's Next For His Successor?

Friday, September 25, 2015

House Speaker John Boehner will resign his leadership position at October's end; he also plans to resign his seat in the House. What does this mean for Congress, as a possible federal shutdown looms?


Pope Francis Speaks Before Joint Meeting Of Congress

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pope Francis delivered a speech before a joint meeting of Congress Thursday. The speech comes at a time when Congress is so divided over the issue of abortion that the government could shut down. The address touched on themes of social justice, family and climate change, issues that the Congress is also divided about.


House Passes Two Abortion-Related Measures Aimed At Planned Parenthood

Friday, September 18, 2015

The House passed two controversial measures Friday aimed at satisfying conservative Republicans in an uproar over videos alleging Planned Parenthood profits from fetal tissue.


GOP Strategizes Over Planned Parenthood; Government Shutdown Looms

Friday, September 18, 2015

The House on Friday will vote on two measures aimed at satisfying conservative Republicans in an uproar about sting videos alleging Planned Parenthood harvests and shares aborted fetal tissue.


Senate Democrats Block Measure To Reject Iran Nuclear Deal

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Senate blocked a measure to reject the Iran nuclear deal Thursday. Meanwhile, the House is working on a parallel, but separate, legislative track to voice Republican opposition to the Iran deal.


House Republicans Change Strategy On Iran Nuclear Deal

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Congress returned to Washington for what was supposed to be a meaty debate on the Iran nuclear deal. But that plan has been hijacked by wrangling over a debate process in both chambers of Congress.


After A 5-Week Recess, Congress To Start Debate On Iran Nuclear Deal

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Congress is to take up the Iran nuclear deal and the national budget. Concerns, however, over Planned Parenthood funding may prevent Congress from coming to a consensus any time soon.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.