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:

Joss Whedon was once hailed as a feminist. Then came the stories about his behavior

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with reporter Lila Shapiro about the allegations against writer-director Joss Whedon.

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Disability rights advocates meet with CDC director Walensky

Friday, January 14, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Matthew Cortland, senior fellow at Data For Progress, who was present at Friday's meeting between disability rights advocates and CDC director Rochelle Walensky.

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In Ukraine, life goes on despite threat of Russian invasion

Friday, January 14, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Ukrainian journalist and author Nataliya Gumenyuk about the Ukrainian public's perspective on tensions with Russia and the possibility that Russian troops may invade.

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Europe braces for the omicron wave

Friday, January 14, 2022

The World Health Organization said more than half of Europe will be infected with COVID in the coming weeks. NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Dr. Hans Kluge of the WHO on what that means for the region.

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Former Harry Reid staffer on Biden's support of getting rid of the filibuster

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Adam Jentleson, who served as the deputy chief of staff to Sen. Harry Reid, about the impact President Biden's support of changing Senate rules has on the filibuster.

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At one Texas prison, men are building community through radio

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

NPR's Ailsa talks with Keri Blakinger, a journalist who wrote about a radio station hosted by inmates at a prison in southeastern Texas.

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Caroline thought her daughter was doing OK with home learning. Then she got a note

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Omicron is upending schools all across the country. Parents and families are navigating last-minute virtual learning, changing risk assessments and their own positive COVID-19 tests.

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In classrooms or online, parents grapple with omicron school 'chaos'

Friday, January 07, 2022

Omicron is upending schools all across the country. Parents and families are navigating last-minute virtual learning, changing risk assessments and their own positive COVID tests.

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Soccer fans cheer Middle Eastern money, despite ethical price tag attached

Thursday, January 06, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with New York Times reporter Tariq Panja about the trend of countries accused of human rights abuses showing a growing interest in global sports.

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How Western Australia has managed to avoid large Covid-19 outbreaks

Thursday, January 06, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with reporter Jacob Kagi of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about how Western Australia has managed their COVID-19 numbers throughout the pandemic.

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Sen. Warnock says voting rights legislation is a moral issue

Thursday, January 06, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Geor., who says that if Congress doesn't pass voting legislation, it will have "failed in the trust the people have given us."

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U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona discusses the push to keep schools open

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona about the omicron surge and the administration's push to keep schools open.

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A timeline of how the Jan. 6 attack unfolded — including who said what and when

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

This week marks the one year anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Here's a timeline of how the day unfolded.

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'Fiona and Jane' captures a friendship's intensity, loyalty and occasional torment

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Jean Chen Ho about her new book, Fiona and Jane. It describes how two Taiwanese American women who grew up in Los Angeles grow apart and find their way back to each other.

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Americans saved a lot of money this year dispite record inflation

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Americans stashed away $2.7 trillion in excess savings over the pandemic even as inflation rates hit a record high.

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What teens talk about when they talk about race

Monday, December 27, 2021

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Zoë Jenkins, Miranda Zanca and Ichtaca Lira, reporters for YR Media, about their series "Teens in America."

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Lights between houses in Baltimore neighborhood show connection in pandemic holidays

Friday, December 24, 2021

In 2020, a Baltimore man strung holiday lights across the street to remind his neighbor of the connection they shared despite pandemic isolation. Soon, others hopped on their rooftops to do the same.

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Child hunger is expected to worsen

Thursday, December 23, 2021

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with pediatrician Dr. Megan Sandel about how the pandemic has exasperated child hunger in the country and could worsen as pandemic-relief programs run out.

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'Teachers are drowning' as they deal with students acting out, low staff and COVID

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with two teachers and a teacher coach about the layers of stress they are currently facing amid the oncoming wave of omicron-driven COVID cases.

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Kentucky native on losing his home in deadly tornadoes

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Matthew Brazzel, a Kentucky native who lost his home in deadly tornadoes on Dec. 10. Some of Brazzel's family photos have been found across the border in Indiana.

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