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:

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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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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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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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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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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48 thousand UC graduate student workers go on strike

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Rafael Jaime, UCLA graduate student and UAW 2865 president, from the picket line as 48 thousand academic workers walk off the job.

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Trailblazing sportswriter Jane Gross died Wednesday at age 75

Monday, November 14, 2022

Sportswriter Jane Gross blazed a trail for women in sports journalism. She died Wednesday at age 75.

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How FTX's fallout impacts the world of cryptocurrency

Monday, November 14, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Laura Shin, the host of the podcast "Unchained," about the impact that FTX's fallout may have on the world of cryptocurrency.

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Live performances from the '80s rock underground resurface in KCRW archive

Friday, November 11, 2022

In the 1980s and early 1990s, a Los Angeles DJ named Deirdre O'Donoghue ran a late-night KCRW show that championed underground musicians, often in live performance. That archive will soon be released.

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The impact of redistricting and new congressional maps on the midterms

Friday, November 11, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Michael Li, senior counsel for the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, about redistricting and the impact of new congressional maps on the midterm elections.

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Swamp pop artist Tommy McLain on his new album, "I Ran Down Every Dream"

Thursday, November 10, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with swamp pop artist Tommy McLain about releasing a new album for the first time in 40 years and what the genre means to him.

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Inaudible, low-frequency bass makes people boogie more on the dancefloor

Thursday, November 10, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with neuroscientist Daniel Cameron, who found that inaudible, low-frequency bass appears to make people boogie nearly 12% more on the dancefloor.

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Are octopuses deliberately throwing things at each other?

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Researchers have observed octopuses lobbing silt and shells at each other — and they say in some cases it might be deliberate.

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Maxwell Frost on becoming the first member of Gen Z to be elected to Congress

Thursday, November 10, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Maxwell Alejandro Frost, the first member of Gen Z to be elected to Congress.

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What the midterms mean for Donald Trump's brand

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Washington Post reporter Toluse Olorunnipa about how candidates endorsed by former President Trump had a mixed record in competitive districts.

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Maxwell Alejandro Frost becomes the first Gen Z member of Congress

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

NPR takes a look at Maxwell Alejandro Frost, the first Gen Z member elected to Congress.

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