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:

Autopsies Spark Legal Fight Over Meaning Of Cruel And Unusual Punishment

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

An NPR investigation follows the legal battle unfolding over evidence that many inmates' lungs fill with fluid as they're executed by lethal injection.

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There's No 'Convenient Structure To Life,' Says Allie Brosh

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Comic artist Allie Brosh has just published her long-awaited second book, Solutions and Other Problems. It's full of her trademark googly-eyed drawings and stories about life, pets and loss.

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Gasping For Air: Autopsies Reveal Troubling Effects Of Lethal Injection

Monday, September 21, 2020

For decades, states have claimed that lethal injection is quick, peaceful and painless. An NPR investigation — and legal battles across the country — tell a different story.

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'Everything Sad Is Untrue' Is Funny And Sad And (Mostly) True

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

In his new novel Daniel Nayeri fictionalizes his own experience of arriving in Oklahoma as an eight-year-old Iranian refugee and dealing with the difficulties of leaving his home and father behind.

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Summer Of Racial Reckoning: The Match Lit

Sunday, August 16, 2020

In Part 1 of a three-part special, NPR examines how George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery became part of a rallying cry that has led the U.S. to confront the racism of its past and present.

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The Psychedelic Furs' Richard Butler On The Band's First New Album In 29 Years

Friday, July 31, 2020

Singer Richard Butler talks about the power of '80s nostalgia, the state of rock and roll today and the freedom of making the band's new record, Made of Rain, on its own terms.

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HBCU President: 'I Slept Better' After Deciding On All Online Classes In The Fall

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Colette Pierce Burnette of Huston-Tillotson University says keeping students and staff safe was paramount. Black people are dying from COVID-19 at two and a half times the rate of white people.

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Why We Grow Numb To Staggering Statistics — And What We Can Do About It

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The growing coronavirus death toll doesn't provoke the same type of emotional response that a plane crash might. It's a coping mechanism and how our neurons are wired, says psychologist Elke Weber.

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Los Angeles Launches $103 Million Program To Offer Relief To Renters

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

LA City Council President Nury Martinez says the city's new program will provide subsidies of up to $2,000 to some 50,000 families. More than 100,000 people applied the first day.

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Margo Price On The Mysterious Process Of Album-Making And Motherhood

Monday, July 13, 2020

The country artist talks to NPR's Ailsa Chang about how following her muse to make the hard-rocking That's How Rumors Get Started is a lesson to herself and her kids on following their dreams.

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Denver School Principal On How Black Students Led Swift Changes To History Curriculum

Friday, July 10, 2020

Kimberly Grayson took her high schoolers to the African American history museum in D.C. When students pressed their white teachers to take the same trip, a revised history curriculum quickly followed.

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Veteran Educator On The Endless But 'Joyful' Work Of Creating Anti-Racist Education

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Pirette McKamey, the principal at Mission High School in San Francisco, says anti-racist education "makes you want to keep growing and changing and doing better by your students."

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Effective Anti-Racist Education Requires More Diverse Teachers, More Training

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Travis Bristol, an assistant professor of education at the University of California at Berkeley, explains how teacher training and the presence of Black teachers can help reshape education.

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Why U.S. Schools Are Still Segregated — And One Idea To Help Change That

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Rebecca Sibilia, founder of EdBuild, says a Supreme Court case shaped a funding model for public schools that reinforces inequity. She tells All Things Considered about a new model that could help.

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Phoenix Mayor Says The City Is In A 'Crisis Situation,' Needs Help

Monday, July 06, 2020

Arizona is now one of the worst COVID-19 hot spots in the Unites States. NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego about how her city is managing the outbreak.

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Teyana Taylor On 'The Album' And Asserting Her Creative Vision

Friday, June 19, 2020

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Teyana Taylor about The Album, her anticipated follow-up to the Kanye West-produced K.T.S.E. that features guests like Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott and Erykah Badu.

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Arbery Family Lawyer On Trump Meeting: 'He Doesn't Feel Like There's Systemic Racism'

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Lee Merritt, a co-counsel for several black families of victims of police violence, met with President Trump before he signed an executive order on policing, which Merritt says is not enough.

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3 Visions For The Future Of Police In South LA

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

As the country seethes after George Floyd's killing, three black men from South Los Angeles who lived through the Watts or Rodney King riots share their ideas of what just policing would look like.

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LA's History Of Racial Tensions And Police Brutality, Revisited

Friday, June 05, 2020

Protests in Los Angeles have prompted the city to revisit its history of racial tensions resulting in police violence. Three men in LA share their thoughts on what needs to change about policing.

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USC Professor On How Protests Have Changed Since LA Riots In 1992

Monday, June 01, 2020

USC law professor Jody David Armour tells All Things Considered that in 1992, people viewed police who beat Rodney King as "bad apples." But now, "we see a persistent and pervasive pattern."

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