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:

Pennies From (Almost) Heaven: Get Paid To Move To West Virginia

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A program called Ascend West Virginia hopes to draw remote workers to the Mountain State, even to the point of paying $12,000 to selected applicants.

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Gov. Hutchinson On States Opting Out Of Unemployment Relief

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, about his decision to move towards ending federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits.

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'It Feels More Desperate Than 2020': Attorney On New Voting Restrictions

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Marc Elias, a voting rights attorney with Perkins Cole, about the bills proposed by Republican state legislators to restrict how and when to vote in their states.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom On California's Huge Budget Surplus, Recall Election

Monday, May 10, 2021

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., who is facing a recall election, about his economic recovery plan that would give $600 stimulus checks to more Californians.

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Black Americans And The Racist Architecture Of Homeownership

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Owning a home is a part of the American dream. It's also the key to building intergenerational wealth. But Black Americans continue to face discrimination in housing, including through higher costs.

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Black Homebuyers Today Pay An Unequal Price

Friday, May 07, 2021

After the 2008 financial crisis, mortgage backers began charging more to borrowers with lower credit scores and less wealth — a practice that disproportionately affects Black homebuyers in America.

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Set In Stone? Franco-Belgian Border Moved By Bold Farmer And A Boulder

Thursday, May 06, 2021

The border between France and Belgium was recently redrawn, but not due to a political dispute. A farmer moved a stone off his land and, in doing so, inadvertently made Belgium slightly bigger.

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A Window Of Opportunity: Black Flight From Compton To The Inland Empire

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Southern California's Inland Empire served as an opportunity for Black Americans to grasp the American dream of homeownership — until they were disproportionately targeted for subprime loans.

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Oversight Board Says Facebook Must Revisit 'Arbitrary' Indefinite Trump Ban

Thursday, May 06, 2021

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Thomas Hughes, director of the Oversight Board Administration, which ruled that Facebook was justified in banning then-President Trump from the social media platform.

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How To Save 11 Ducklings From Your 9th-Story Balcony — Hint: You'll Need A 'Ducket'

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

A duck decided to nest on the 9th story balcony of a former Royal Navy specialist. Using some carabiners, rope and a "ducket," Steve Stuttard helped all 11 ducklings and their mom get to the water.

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How A Predatory Real Estate Practice Changed The Face Of Compton

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

In the 1950s, the city of Compton was nearly all-white. But by the 1970s, it had turned majority Black — in part due to a state-sanctioned predatory real estate practice called blockbusting.

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Au Revoir, Yahoo! Answers

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Yahoo! Answers shut down Tuesday after nearly 16 years of inquiries from the internet's curious minds. As a final send-off, NPR gets to the bottom of some of these important questions.

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NPR Turns 50 And Susan Stamberg Recalls A First

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

All Things Considered turns 50 this week. To help mark that milestone, NPR's Susan Stamberg remembers an interview she did in 1989 with a dying commentator, Kim Williams.

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Beneath The Santa Monica Freeway Lies The Erasure Of Sugar Hill

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Sugar Hill was a wealthy, Black Los Angeles neighborhood whose residents played a role in lifting racially restrictive covenants — only to eventually be erased by another force of racial segregation.

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The Racist Architecture Of Homeownership: How Housing Segregation Has Persisted

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with writer Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor about the racist real estate practices that ensured wealth accumulated along racial lines, even after housing discrimination became illegal.

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For NPR's 50th, A Listener Remembers A Story That Guides Her As A Mother

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

All Things Considered listener Brooke Frizzell shares how a story that aired on the show in 2016 influenced her relationship with her daughter.

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White House Commits Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars To Increase Vaccine Access

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 Response Team, about the Biden administration's new plan to increase access to the coronavirus vaccines.

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For NPR's 50th: A Listener Riveted by Earthquake 6000 Miles Away

Monday, May 03, 2021

All Things Considered listener Canice Flanagan points to Melissa Block's reporting on an earthquake in China in 2008 as a story that had a dramatic effect on her.

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Susan Stamberg On NPR's 50th — A Memory Made In A Closet

Monday, May 03, 2021

To mark the 50th anniversary of All Things Considered, NPR special correspondent Susan Stamberg recalls a moment from the program's first decade.

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Health Experts Disagree On Whether 'Herd Immunity' Can Be Achieved

Monday, May 03, 2021

"Herd immunity," in which the vast majority of a population has immunity, has been cited as the key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. But public health experts are split on whether it can be achieved.

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