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:

Why Biden's plan to boost semiconductor chip manufacturing in the U.S. is so critical

Friday, August 12, 2022

The law will allocate more than $50 billion to bring semiconductor chip manufacturing to the U.S. and away from its current production hub in East Asia.

Comment

Little is free in prison — Here are the various ways incarcerated people make money

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Beyond basic necessities, everything has a price in prison. NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Marshall Project reporter Beth Schwartzapfel about the prison economy and how incarcerated people make money.

Comment

Some podcast guest chairs go to high bidders — without telling listeners

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Bloomberg's Ashley Carman's about a growing trend of guests paying podcasts to appear on their shows in order to market themselves or their products new target audiences.

Comment

The new CHIPS and Science Act will bring semiconductor chip manufacturing to the U.S.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 into law Tuesday, which allocates $53 billion dollars in federal funding to manufacture semiconductor chips domestically.

Comment

What a decade of Curiosity has taught us about life on Mars

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Ten years ago today, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover successfully commenced its mission to explore the possibility of life on mars. Here's what it has discovered.

Comment

New Zealand considers changing its name to confront its troubled colonial past

Friday, August 05, 2022

As the people of New Zealand confront their nation's troubled past with colonization, a return to the Maori name of Aotearoa is being presented to a parliamentary committee.

Comment

How American Sign Language is evolving with time

Thursday, August 04, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Amanda Morris about how sign language evolves over time, the subject of her recent piece in The New York Times.

Comment

What Curiosity's 10 years on Mars have taught us

Thursday, August 04, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Ashwin Vasavada, the head scientist for the Curiosity Mars rover, about the rover's 10 years of exploration.

Comment

New Zealand MP talks about the movement to change the country's name

Thursday, August 04, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, co-leader of The Maori Party in the New Zealand parliament, about a push to change the country's name to Aotearoa, a Maori name.

Comment

To this retired commander, the ISS was the last good bond between the U.S. and Russia

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Retired Air Force colonel and NASA astronaut Terry Virts commanded the ISS in 2014 and 2015, but says he wouldn't want to partner with Russia in space until it leaves Ukraine and pays for the damage.

Comment

Why do so many bikes end up underwater? The reasons can be weird and varied

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Each year, thousands of bikes are thrown into waterways. Author Jody Rosen explains the history, and possible motivations for this strange phenomenon.

Comment

Vin Scully, legendary Dodgers broadcaster, has died at 94

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

One of baseball's most beloved voices is gone. Broadcasting icon Vin Scully died Tuesday at age 94.

Comment

A retired ISS commander weighs in on Russia's decision to leave

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Terry Virts, retired NASA astronaut and commander of the International Space Station, about Russia's decision to leave the ISS after 2024.

Comment

Why conservative Kansas handed victory to abortion rights

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Dave Helling of The Kansas City Star about the historical background of Tuesday night's vote on abortion rights in the state.

Comment

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad on Ayman al-Zawahiri

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Afghan-American diplomat and foreign policy expert Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad speaks with NPR's Ailsa Chang on the U.S. killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Comment

NFL suspends quarterback Deshaun Watson for 6 games over sexual assault accusations

Monday, August 01, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Lindsay Jones, senior NFL Editor for The Ringer, about the NFL suspending quarterback Deshaun Watson for six games.

Comment

Encore: Artist Ai Weiwei on his father's exile and hopes for his own son

Monday, August 01, 2022

In this encore presentation, NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks to artist Ai Weiwei about his memoir, 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows.

Comment

In extended-stay hotels, one writer sees a solution to lots of housing problems

Monday, August 01, 2022

Slate staff writer Henry Grabar tells NPR's Ailsa Chang why he thinks a return of extended-stay hotels — once a fixture of American cities — could help with today's housing market dysfunction.

Comment

At a distillery in flood-stricken Kentucky, there's mud everywhere

Monday, August 01, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Colin Fultz, owner of Kentucky Mist Distillery, about the flood damage in his town of Whitesburg, Ky.

Comment

Indigenous peoples react to the pope's apology for Canada's residential schools

Friday, July 29, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Stephanie Scott, executive director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, about the pope's apology to Indigenous peoples for Canada's residential schools.

Comment