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:

How Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's decision to register as an independent affects the Senate

Friday, December 09, 2022

Arizonia Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has announced she's leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent. What does this mean for the Senate's balance of power?

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A new law in Russia is Putin's latest attack on LGBTQ rights

Friday, December 09, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Oxford University professor Dan Healey about new laws in Russia that make it illegal to spread LGBTQ "propaganda."

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Reporter Lloyd Newman, known for Ghetto Life 101, died this week at age 43

Friday, December 09, 2022

Lloyd Newman, one of the reporters of the documentary Ghetto Life 101, died this week at age 43. The documentary aired on this program almost 30 years ago.

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A scientific survey takes a look at 'vocal mimicry' in parrots

Thursday, December 08, 2022

A new scientific survey takes a close look at the ability of parrots to mimic human words and phrases.

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Washington TV reporter Pat Collins is retiring after 49 years

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Pat Collins, known for being a quirky Washington TV reporter, is retiring after 49 years.

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CDC Director Rochelle Walensky advises on the 'tripledemic'

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Center for Disease Prevention and Control Director Rochelle Walensky about the "tripledemic."

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Cape fur seals can recognize their pup's calls just two hours after birth

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Cape fur seals can recognize their pup's cry just two hours after birth, remarkably earlier than other mammals. For context, only about 40% of women can identify their baby's cry 24 hours after birth.

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'Dead money' in college football is at an all time high

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Washington Post sportswriter Liz Clarke about the prevalence of "dead money" in college football as universities and boosters buyout coaches.

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Swear words across languages may have more in common than previously thought

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

A new study shows that swear words across languages may have more in common than previously thought. Many of them tend to leave out the same sounds.

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The Tale of 2 Economies: Why some Labor Markets had Fast and Slow Recoveries

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Betsey Stevenson, University of Michigan professor and former chief economist under President Barack Obama, about contradicting narratives on the job market.

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Poet Mary Norbert Korte died in November at age 88

Monday, December 05, 2022

Poet Mary Norbert Korte left her life as a nun in the 1960s to pursue dual passions for beat poetry and the preservation of California's redwood forests. She died in November at age 88.

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Comedian He Huang on the criticism her 'Australia's Got Talent' set received

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with comedian He Huang, whose "Australia's Got Talent" set generated a lot of laughs and criticism for jokes that some people said reinforced stereotypes about Chinese people.

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Closing the gender pay gap could be critical in reducing California homelessness

Monday, November 28, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Holly Martinez, the executive director of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, about how closing the gender pay gap could help reduce homelessness.

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Bluegrass icon Billy Strings brings it back home on new album with his dad

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Celebrated bluegrass musician Billy Strings has a new album out, which he made with his dad, Terry Barber.

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Bluegrass icon Billy Strings recorded his new album with his dad

Friday, November 25, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with bluegrass musician Billy Strings and his dad who taught him how to play guitar, Terry Barber, about their new album, "Me/And/Dad."

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The midterms lead to a number of firsts for transgender lawmakers

Thursday, November 17, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with two recently elected transgender lawmakers, Representative Zooey Zephyr of Montana, and Representative James Roesener of New Hampshire.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to step down from Democratic leadership

Thursday, November 17, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page about Nancy Pelosi's decision to step down as House Speaker after 20 years and what's next for Democrats.

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Remembering the D.C. centenarian who went viral after dancing with President Obama

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Centenarian Virginia McLaurin found internet stardom after dancing with former President Obama and was known for her volunteering and activism. She died Monday at age 113.

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The state of human rights in Qatar ahead of the 2022 men's FIFA World Cup

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Human Rights Watch director of global initiatives Minky Worden about the state of human rights in Qatar ahead of the 2022 men's FIFA World Cup.

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Researchers find rats move to the same tempos in music that humans like

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Researchers at the University of Tokyo found that rats react to the same tempos that humans like.

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