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 some companies hope to bring China's livestream shopping trend to the U.S.

Monday, March 04, 2024

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks to reporter Caiwei Chen about the booming livestream shopping trend in China, and how Chinese companies and TikTok are training American influencers to sell on livestreams too.

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Lebron James reaches 40,000 points, and doesn't look like he'll stop anytime soon

Monday, March 04, 2024

Ailsa Chang talks to Ben Golliver of the Washington Post about Lebron's latest career milestone — and how he keeps on scoring, despite being the oldest player in the league.

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Tribal clashes in Papua New Guinea have become increasingly deadly

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

A clash between tribes in Papua New Guinea led to deaths of at least 49 tribesmen. Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Tim Swanston explains why tribal warfare has gotten more deadly recently.

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Greta Lee of 'Past Lives' talks about how language and identity are intertwined

Friday, February 23, 2024

Greta Lee stars in the new movie Past Lives. She talks with NPR's Ailsa Chang about the film and the ways language and identity are intertwined.

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New York rolls out a social-justice oriented weed legalization program

Thursday, February 22, 2024

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino about her latest piece, which chronicles the rollout of New York's social justice-oriented weed legalization program.

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Short Wave on singing gibbons, tai chi's health benefits, and gender disparity with exercise results

Thursday, February 22, 2024

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Regina Barber and Rachel Carlson of Short Wave about singing gibbons, how tai chi might lower blood pressure, and why women get quicker benefits from exercise than men.

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Scientists in the Florida Keys haven't had great success revitalizing coral reefs

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Katey Lesneski, research coordinator for coral restoration at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. She's been checking on restored corals, which struggled in 2023.

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Beyoncé's 'Texas Hold 'Em' adds to a long legacy of Black women in country music

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

With Beyoncé on top Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Francesca Royster, author of Black Country Music, about the history of Black women in country music.

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An Alabama Supreme Court ruling may have wider implications for people seeking IVF

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Mary Ziegler, UC Davis law professor, about the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that says frozen embryos are people and individuals can be held liable for destroying them.

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Can Trump afford his mounting legal penalties?

Monday, February 19, 2024

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Forbes senior editor Dan Alexander about Trump's fortune and the resources he has to pay huge legal settlements.

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What layoffs in the video game industry mean for developers and the games we love

Monday, February 19, 2024

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with video game journalist Rebekah Valentine about the trends that are driving layoffs across the industry.

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Members of one Indigenous tribe in Taiwan reflect on their indentity

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Taiwan has endured colonial forces over centuries. The island's indigenous people have borne the brunt of this violent history. Members of one tribe tells us what it means to them to be Taiwanese.

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Why some Taiwanese Americans are moving back to Taiwan

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The 1970s-1990s saw a mass wave of Taiwanese immigrants to the U.S. Now, many of their children are moving to Taiwan for a safer future despite the west's perceptions of impending war with China.

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Ruling-party's Lai Ching-te wins Taiwan's presidential election

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Lai Ching-te of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party is Taiwan's new president-elect.

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Taiwan, the only Chinese-speaking democracy, will elect a president this Saturday

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Taiwan's democracy is only a few decades old — but very active. As Taiwan's consequential presidential election approaches, colorful rallies, campaign events and parties fill the streets.

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A Taipei comedy club becomes an unlikely venue for working out Taiwan-China tensions

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Taiwanese comedian Vickie Wang and Chinese comedian Jamie Wang (no relation) work through the lived experience of cross-strait tensions through comedy.

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Taiwan's long history of colonization has forged its distinct cuisine

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Taiwan has endured a long history of colonization. As a trip to the culinary center of Tainan reveals, those outside forces have helped create a cuisine that is distinctly Taiwanese.

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Coach Prime's Review: Assessing Deion Sanders' 1st year at CU

Thursday, December 21, 2023

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with ESPN Andscape columnist Clinton Yates about Deion Sanders' year in Review at the University of Colorado, which is seeing mixed views on whether the season was a success.

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Mr. Chow talks about his restaurant empire, art and family history

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Michael Chow, also known as Mr. Chow, about his restaurant empire, his art and his family history.

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Senate continues to work on immigration and foreign aid deal

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado discusses ongoing negations about immigration reform and border funding.

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