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:

Special Report: Key Takeaways From Fiona Hill And David Holmes' Testimonies

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Two more witnesses testified on Thursday in front of the House Intelligence Committee, marking the end of this week's public impeachment hearings.


Special Report: Takeaways From Day 3 Of Testimony In The Public Impeachment Hearings

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Four witnesses testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.


Special Report: What You Need To Know From Marie Yovanovitch's Public Testimony

Friday, November 15, 2019

The former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday in the public phase of the impeachment inquiry.


Racial Unrest Of Early '90s Los Angeles Resurfaces In 'Your House Will Pay'

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Steph Cha's new novel takes place in the present day, but she connects her story of Korean American and black communities in LA to the riots and injustices of nearly three decades ago.


China Cracks Down On Activism, Even When It Comes To Communist Principles

Friday, October 11, 2019

China has been cracking down on activism — even when it comes to principles Communism was founded to protect like equal rights for women and protections for workers.


Has The Trade War Taken A Bite Out Of China's Economy? Yes — But It's Complicated

Thursday, October 10, 2019

China's economic growth has been slowing down for years. Tariffs have contributed to slower growth since early 2018, when the economic standoff began, but it's hard to pinpoint how much.


China Celebrates 70 Years Of Communist Rule With Military Parade

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

The elaborate celebration of the Communist Party's seven decades of power comes at a time when China is facing immense challenges both at home and abroad.


Communist China Turns 70. Who Shares Its Economic Growth?

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Hundreds of millions have climbed out of poverty, but an equality gap has widened. Seventy years after Mao's revolution, many Chinese people reflect on their own stories of struggle and mobility.


Greta Thunberg To U.S.: 'You Have A Moral Responsibility' On Climate Change

Friday, September 13, 2019

The young Swedish activist led a protest at the White House on Friday. But she wasn't looking to go inside. "I don't want to meet with people who don't accept the science," she says.


Teen Angst And Civil Rights Meet In A New Memoir — Featuring Jackie Robinson

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The pioneering baseball player's daughter, Sharon Robinson, has written Child of the Dream, a chronicle of 1963 — a critical year for the Civil Rights movement, and also when she turned 13.


'We Will Always Sing': Black Belt Eagle Scout Makes Space For The Marginalized

Monday, September 09, 2019

Katherine Paul, who performs under the name Black Belt Eagle Scout, uses the pow wow music of her youth to shape her songs and isn't afraid to assert who they are for.


In Hong Kong, Students Strike, Seeking Democratic Reforms

Monday, September 02, 2019

Thousands of Hong Kong students boycotted class to peacefully call for greater democracy for the former British colony. The strike followed a violent weekend of clashes between protesters and police.


Common Takes Time To Heal On 'Let Love'

Monday, September 02, 2019

Common, the Chicago-hailing rapper, actor and activist, talks with NPR's Ailsa Chang about his latest album, Let Love, and appreciating stillness in order to make it.


Search Continues In Diving Boat Fire Near Santa Cruz Island

Monday, September 02, 2019

Dozens of people are missing after a fire ignited on a boat near Santa Cruz Island in California. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued five people. The search continues for those unaccounted for.


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.