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:

Stacey Abrams On Why Securing Voting Rights Is As Necessary Now As In The Past

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

In the wake of the historic 2020 election turnout, state legislatures across the U.S. are considering bills to make it harder to vote. Activist Stacey Abrams warns of a return to Jim Crow-era laws.

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'Minari' Director Reflects On The Yi Family's Experience, And Parallels To His Own

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Director Lee Isaac Chung's film is loosely based on his childhood. He tells NPR he's not trying to refute the idea of the American dream, but to speak to the feeling of "maybe waking up from a dream."

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A Look At The New U.S. Coronavirus Variants

Monday, February 15, 2021

In recent months, we've learned about several new variants of the coronavirus that have popped up in the U.S. Scientists recently reported seven new and distinct variants.

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Host Of Winter Storm-Related Problems Plague San Antonio

Monday, February 15, 2021

Power outages, cold temperatures and other winter storm-related problems are plaguing San Antonio.

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In Post-Impeachment Washington, Now What?

Monday, February 15, 2021

In the wake of the Senate acquittal of former President Trump, many questions remain. How does the GOP move forward? What's ahead for President Biden's agenda, no longer overshadowed by impeachment?

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Johnson & Johnson Executive Says Vaccine Works Where It Counts: Preventing Deaths

Friday, January 29, 2021

Dr. Paul Stoffels, the chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, tells NPR the company's vaccine is very effective where it matters most: preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

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Navajo Nation Begins Mass Vaccinations After Lifting Lockdown Order

Friday, January 29, 2021

The Navajo Nation is shifting its focus to mass vaccinations to fight against the pandemic's hold on Indigenous communities.

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Rivers Cuomo On Weezer's Latest, 'OK Human,' And The Need To Riff (Or Not)

Friday, January 29, 2021

Cuomo says Weezer is always looking to try the opposite of whatever it just did. Case in point: the band's new orchestral record, made back to back with a metal album.

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South Dakota Health Leader On How The State Has Gotten Its Vaccine Out

Monday, January 25, 2021

South Dakota has administered roughly 80,000 of the 106,000 doses it has received so far, or 75%. Dr. Shankar Kurra in Rapid City says a centralized system helped for coordination.

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Even In Isolation, Rhye Makes Music For Us To Come Together

Friday, January 22, 2021

Mike Milosh, the voice of the R&B collective, says creativity permeates every hour of his life — so he tried to make a sacred space for it while recording his new album, Home.

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ICU Nurse Says Careless Attitudes Around COVID-19 Are 'A Slap In The Face'

Friday, January 15, 2021

Lydia Mobley has experienced the pandemic's deadliest days from the inside of a Michigan hospital. "You see people not wearing masks. And then you go to work and you watch people die," the nurse says.

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As COVID-19 Ravages His Force, LAPD Chief Looks To Boost Confidence In Vaccine

Thursday, January 14, 2021

An informal survey found that 60% of Los Angeles police employees would get the vaccine when it's available to them. LAPD Chief Michel Moore describes how the department plans to increase that number.

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James Comey: Trump Should Be Impeached But Not Federally Prosecuted

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The former FBI director is out with a new book assessing the Trump presidency, ex-Attorney General William Barr and the Mueller report. He tells NPR he was "sickened" by the attack on the Capitol.

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'Things Are Worse Than People Think': LA County Official On New Directives For EMS

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Dr. Nichole Bosson of the LA County Emergency Medical Services Agency explains Monday's orders not to transport some patients and to limit oxygen use amid Los Angeles' massive COVID-19 surge.

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Minnesota Health Official Says Vaccine Rollout Hasn't Been As Bad As It Seems

Monday, January 04, 2021

Kris Ehresmann of the Minnesota Department of Health says the holidays were a big reason that not as many people were vaccinated as had been planned.

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Amid Health Care Worker Shortage, LA Mayor Presses For Faster Vaccine Rollout

Thursday, December 31, 2020

As the city's hospitals reach a breaking point, Mayor Eric Garcetti says Los Angeles needs more vaccine doses as soon as possible: "We can go as fast as you give us those vaccines."

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For Hungry Americans Across The Country, Food Insecurity Crisis Deepens

Monday, December 14, 2020

Kate Leone of Feeding America and Emily Slazer of Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans describe the acute challenges food banks are facing as they try to feed the rising ranks of the hungry.

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FDA Head Stephen Hahn On What's Next For Pfizer Vaccine In Fast-Moving Process

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

The FDA will likely make a decision about approving Pfizer's vaccine "shortly after" an advisory committee meeting on Thursday. The agency has found "no specific safety concerns" about the vaccine.

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2020 Book Concierge: Ailsa Chang Picks 'Everything Sad Is Untrue' By Daniel Nayeri

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

To celebrate the launch of NPR's 2020 Book Concierge, each All Things Considered host will share a favorite book. Ailsa Chang's is Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri.

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Health Officials Call On Mississippi Governor To Implement Statewide Mask Mandate

Monday, December 07, 2020

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is taking a county-by-county approach. Dr. LouAnn Woodward of the University of Mississippi supports a statewide order and laments the politicization of mask-wearing.

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