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:

Ex-CIA Director On National Security, Post-Truth 'Assault On Intelligence'

Monday, April 30, 2018

Michael Hayden's new book critiques the forces threatening the U.S. intelligence community, including President Trump, at a time he says the community's work has never been harder or more important.


'Insane': America's 3 Largest Psychiatric Facilities Are Jails

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Alisa Roth's new book suggests U.S. jails and prisons have become warehouses for the mentally ill. They often get sicker in these facilities, Roth says, because they don't get appropriate treatment.


In 'The New Face Of America,' Journalist Alex Wagner Saw Herself

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

In 1993, Wagner saw a computer-generated face on Time magazine that reminded her a lot of her own. The journalist searches for answers about her own ancestry in her new book, Futureface.


'He Wants To Be Remembered': Tiny Desk Contestant Finds His Voice While Fighting ALS

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bernie Dalton had a dream to make music, but when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, he was even more determined.


Basketball, Marijuana And Poetry: These Police Tweet More Than Crime Alerts

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Lawrence, Kan., police department's account has over 100,000 Twitter followers. It's well-known for tweets that use humor to reach its community.


Runner Tells Herself 'Just Show Up For One More Mile' — And Wins The Boston Marathon

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Desiree Linden fought through wind and rain on Monday to become the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985. Her victory came after she nearly bailed out during the race.


Pulitzer-Winning Photographer Made Charlottesville Photo On His Last Day On The Job

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Photographer Ryan Kelly, was just finishing four years at The Daily Progress when he captured the image of a car plowing into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va.


Chinese Dissident Finds Struggles, Independence In America After Immigrating

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Lauren Hilgers's new book Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown charts the journey of Chinese dissident Zhuang Liehong, who immigrates to Queens, N.Y., from his village in Guangdong, China.


Parkland Shooting Survivor Discusses Newfound Activism To End Gun Violence

Friday, March 23, 2018

In advance of the "March for Our Lives" rally in Washington, Gabe Glassman, a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, and his mother, Lisa Glassman, discuss how they've changed since the shooting.


Roxanne Shante Smells Her Flowers With 'Roxanne Roxanne' Biopic

Friday, March 23, 2018

The new Netflix film chronicles the rapper's early career.


Tax Change Delivers A Blow To Professional Sports

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The change of a single word in the 2017 tax overhaul means professional sports franchises could take a big tax hit each time they trade a player.


From Clues To Capture: Forensics, Profiling And The Hunt In Austin

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Former FBI agent Mary Ellen O'Toole discusses the role of forensic and behavioral experts in catching a serial criminal in an investigation like the bombing probe in Texas.


Do Ladies Need Their Own Scotch?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

In a play on signature top-hatted man on Johnnie Walker scotch bottles, the company introduced the Jane Walker Edition. It's the latest example of seemingly gender-neutral products marketed to women.


News Brief: Fusion GPS Wants Congressional Testimony Made Public

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

During the 2016 election, the firm put together a collection of unsubstantiated information about Donald Trump's ties to Russia. Plus, President Trump's tweets about North Korea and the Palestinians.


News Brief: Iran Protests, White House 2018 Strategy

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

It's Day 6 of anti-government protests in Iran and the death toll is rising. And, President Trump boasted that 2018 was going to be very special, but he didn't specify what he wants to focus on.


News Brief: North Korea's Nuclear Warning, Iran Protests

Monday, January 01, 2018

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un warned the U.S. that his country's completed nuclear arsenal is a button-push away. And, anti-government protests have swept across Iran over the last several days.


Renewed Calls For Patriotism Over Politics When Drawing District Lines

Friday, September 29, 2017

It's not against the law for politicians to consider politics when they're redrawing districts, but the situation in Wisconsin is particularly aggressive.


Sorry: Demi Lovato's Not Sorry

Friday, September 29, 2017

The pop singer's new R&B-influenced album, Tell Me You Love Me, reflects her struggles with mental illness and addiction and her newfound empowerment.


Same-Sex Spouses Turn To Adoption To Protect Parental Rights

Friday, September 22, 2017

If a man and a woman are married and a child is born, the man is automatically a parent. But if a woman who gives birth is married to another woman, parental rights are not guaranteed for her spouse.


'The Autobiography Of Gucci Mane': A Story Of Rap And Rebirth

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks to rapper about his new book, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane. It traces his life as an artist who forged an unlikely path to stardom and personal rebirth.