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:

Plácido Domingo Accuser Patricia Wulf Shares Her Story

Thursday, August 15, 2019

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Patricia Wulf, a mezzo-soprano who says she was uncomfortable with aggressive advances made by revered opera star Plácido Domingo.


'One Child Nation' Documentary Explores The Dark Side Of Chinese Policy

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Director Nanfu Wang, who grew up in rural China, has made a film about the painful, unintended consequences of the Chinese government's one-child rule — including how it affected her own family.


How Americans — Some Knowingly, Some Unwittingly — Helped China's Surveillance Grow

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Chinese government has created a surveillance state using DNA, voice, and face recognition technology to track and target China's Uighur population. Americans helped advance this system.


In 'Unspeakable,' A Journalist Gives Silence An Investigative Treatment

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

As a teenager, Harriet Shawcross retreated into silence for a year. As an adult, she set out to understand why people speak, and why they don't, in a new book.


Duckwrth Treats Hip-Hop As His Missionary Work

Friday, May 10, 2019

The South Central Los Angeles rapper grew up trying to navigate between gangsta rap and his family's Pentecostal beliefs. Duckwrth talks about these competing forces on his latest EP, The Falling Man.


Lubrication And Lots Of Communication: Navigating A New Sexual Life After Menopause

Thursday, May 09, 2019

A new book, Flash Count Diary, celebrates the emotional and creative freedom of postmenopausal intimacy. Author Darcey Steinke is here to say, sex can be better than ever after midlife.


Chef Enrique Olvera Celebrates Simple Pleasures Of Mexican Cuisine In 'Tu Casa Mi Casa'

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Enrique Olvera's restaurant Pujol has made multiple "best-of" lists, but he nearly didn't have a culinary career. His new cookbook is inspired by the perfect imperfections of Mexican home cooking.


Kelsey Lu, A Classically Trained Rule Breaker

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Kelsey Lu knew she wanted to play music from a young age. So, at 18, she left home to deepen that study. On her debut album, Blood, Lu explores what that decision meant.


'Fast Color' Celebrates A Supermom Who Literally Moves Heaven And Earth

Friday, April 19, 2019

Moms perform heroic tasks every day, but they rarely get portrayed as superheroes. Fast Color tells the story of three generations of black women and the supernatural powers they inherit.


How The Trump Administration's Transgender Troop Ban Is Affecting One Military Family

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Trump administration gave transgender service members a deadline to secure a medical diagnosis before the new ban took hold. But military families are struggling with the accelerated timeline.


Susan Choi Takes Her Teenagers Seriously

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

The author's new novel Trust Exercise is set among theater kids in a performing arts high school — until it jumps ahead a few decades and looks back at what really happened back then.


When The Conversation Doesn't Include You: LGBTQ+ Sex Ed In A Small Town

Monday, April 01, 2019

For the past year, residents in Allendale, Mich., have been debating whether to include LGBTQ+ people and perspectives in the school district's sex education program and anti-bullying campaign.


Can We Overcome Racial Bias? 'Biased' Author Says To Start By Acknowledging It

Thursday, March 28, 2019

In her new book, psychology professor Jennifer Eberhardt explores how unconscious racial bias shapes human behavior — and suggests that we examine what situations can trigger racial bias.


It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's ... A Dog Dangling From A Helicopter?!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The IMAX film Superpower Dogs follows six remarkable canines who work in fields such as avalanche and water rescue, endangered species protection, and emotional support.


Jordan Peele Looked Into The Mirror And Saw The Evil Inside 'Us'

Friday, March 22, 2019

For his much-anticipated follow-up to his Oscar-winning movie Get Out, the writer-director sets a family up against its own doppelgangers. That is, he made a full-on horror film.


How A Small Indiana Company Fought Back Against Chinese Counterfeiters

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

When an Indiana company learned their goods were being counterfeited in China, they did everything they could to make it stop. But pursuing an intellectual property claim in China takes a lot of work.


'The New Me' Is Meh About Ambition And Adulthood

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Halle Butler's new novel explores what it's like to work in a dead-end office job. Her satirical story focuses on a 30-year-old woman named Millie who wanders from temp job to temp job.


Episode 900: The Stolen Company

Friday, March 15, 2019

When an American company named ABRO learns their goods are being counterfeited in China, they pursue lawsuits, extraditions, sting operations and more to make it stop.


Episode 893: Our Valentines 2019

Friday, February 08, 2019

We're back for our annual tradition: Channeling another year's worth of jealousy and self-loathing into a whole episode just for you. Happy Valentine's Day!


Episode 888: The First Shutdown

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

In 1879, Congress and the President were locked in a battle over the rights of African-Americans. It led to the first government shutdown.