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:

How Will GOP Adapt To Shifting Arizona Demographics?

Friday, October 19, 2018

Arizona will be majority-minority by 2030. As Arizona's Latino population rapidly grows, what efforts are Republicans making to court the Latino vote?

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In 'Gmorning, Gnight!' Jonny Sun And Lin-Manuel Miranda Craft A Peppy Pick-Me-Up

Friday, October 12, 2018

What if, instead of reaching compulsively for your phone for comfort and distraction, you could pick up a book? That's what Lin-Manuel Miranda and illustrator Jonny Sun aimed for in their new book.

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Steve Perry's New Life: 'I've Rediscovered The Passion For Music'

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

After decades out of the public eye, Steve Perry, the former Journey frontman, has a new solo album out.

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Episode 867: Special Report: Asylum Crackdown

Friday, September 28, 2018

We tell the story of a massive crackdown on asylum fraud, and the fallout.

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Thousands Could Be Deported As Government Targets Asylum Mills' Clients

Friday, September 28, 2018

In 2012, a Justice Department probe shut down law firms that helped Chinese asylum-seekers fabricate or inflate claims of persecution. The clients were left alone, but now 13,500 may have to leave.

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'Gross Anatomy' Turns Humor On Taboos About The Female Body

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Author Mara Altman got tired of hiding her hairy, sweaty self from the world, and set out to reframe the shame in her latest book of essays — part memoir, part scientific exploration, part manifesto.

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Camille Thurman Is A Rare Jazz Double Threat

Friday, August 24, 2018

The accomplished saxophonist and singer discusses her latest album 'Waiting for the Sunrise' and defying misconceptions about women in jazz.

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Mitski's Many Lives

Friday, August 10, 2018

Mitski's new album Be the Cowboy explores the singer's roles onstage, in relationships and as a woman in the world. The artist talked to NPR's Ailsa Chang about how there's no such thing as one identity.

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Joshua Tree Provides Beacon For Artists And Seekers In The California Desert

Monday, August 06, 2018

Travel website Atlas Obscura and All Things Considered team up for a West Coast summer road trip from California to Washington. The journey starts in the desert outside Los Angeles.

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Dozens Of Goats Take Over Boise Neighborhood

Friday, August 03, 2018

A herd of over 100 goats invaded a neighborhood in Boise on Friday morning. They ate their way through several front yards, but the neighbors were mostly amused — along with the rest of the country.

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'Women Are Not One Thing': The 2018 Turning The Tables List Shines With Diversity

Monday, July 30, 2018

NPR Music's Sidney Madden and Marissa Lorusso explore the diversity and staying power found in the songs on NPR Music's list of the 200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women+.

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Grim Realities Meet Magic And Absurdity In 'The Wrong Heaven'

Friday, July 27, 2018

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with author Amy Bonnaffons about her first collection of short stories, The Wrong Heaven.

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The Name Behind This Year's Most Popular Album? P.T. Barnum

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The soundtrack to the movie The Greatest Showman is outselling Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake this year. Critic Rob Harvilla reviewed the album for The Ringer and explains its success.

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White House Launches Effort To Take Citizenship From Those Who Lied To Get It

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

When an immigrant becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen, there's a sense of permanence. But a Trump administration effort is seeking those who cheated to get citizenship, and plans to take it from them.

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As America Turns A Year Older, Poll Finds Patriotism Has Slipped A Bit

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Gallup Editor in Chief Frank M. Newport about a new poll that finds, for the first time, that less than half of Americans are extremely proud of their citizenship.

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On Independence Day, Minting Thousands Of New Americans

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

At a Fourth of July naturalization ceremony in New Hampshire, newly minted American citizens take the oath. They're among nearly 14,000 people across the country who are becoming Americans this week.

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Zero-Sum Tactics That Built Trump Inc. Could Backfire With World Leaders

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with David Honig, who teaches negotiations at Indiana University, on how President Trump has employed a technique called "distributive bargaining," and how that can backfire.

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America's Next Top Rest Stop: An App Compiles The Best Gas Station Bathrooms

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Millions of Americans are hitting the roads for the holiday. With road trips come pit stops, and fuel price tracker Gas Buddy has compiled a list of the best bathrooms using user reviews.

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Ex-CIA Director On National Security, Post-Truth 'Assault On Intelligence'

Monday, April 30, 2018

Michael Hayden's new book critiques the forces threatening the U.S. intelligence community, including President Trump, at a time he says the community's work has never been harder or more important.

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'Insane': America's 3 Largest Psychiatric Facilities Are Jails

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Alisa Roth's new book suggests U.S. jails and prisons have become warehouses for the mentally ill. They often get sicker in these facilities, Roth says, because they don't get appropriate treatment.

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