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:

USC Professor On How Protests Have Changed Since LA Riots In 1992

Monday, June 01, 2020

USC law professor Jody David Armour tells All Things Considered that in 1992, people viewed police who beat Rodney King as "bad apples." But now, "we see a persistent and pervasive pattern."

Comment

Tracee Ellis Ross Can Hit The High Notes, Too

Friday, May 29, 2020

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks to Tracee Ellis Ross about starring in The High Note, a movie about an over-40 superstar singer navigating the music industry with her assistant, who has her own music dreams.

Comment

Bioethicist: 'Immunity Passports' Could Do More Harm Than Good

Friday, May 29, 2020

The so-called passports have been floated as a way to get people who've recovered from COVID-19 back to work safely. But a Harvard professor says creating an "immunodeprived" status is unethical.

Comment

Moses Sumney Puts The Industry Behind Him And Explores The In-Between On 'Grae'

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks to the experimental musician about his new genre-defying, double album grae, his decision to move from Los Angeles to Asheville, N.C. and not shaving down the edges of himself.

Comment

Cal State Chancellor Says Virtual Classes Can Still Lead To 'Lifetime Of Opportunity'

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Tuition will not drop for online learning, says Timothy White, chancellor of the largest four-year public college system in the U.S., due to the costs of additional technology and faculty training.

Comment

New Jersey Investigates State's Nursing Homes, Hotbed Of COVID-19 Fatalities

Monday, May 11, 2020

More than half of New Jersey's coronavirus fatalities were at long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. The state's attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, has opened an investigation.

Comment

It's Not Just A Phase: 'How To Build A Girl' Is About A Teen Still Figuring It Out

Friday, May 08, 2020

Beanie Feldstein stars in the film adaptation of Caitlin Moran's 2014 semi-autobiographical novel. She says this movie "gives everyone permission to make mistakes."

Comment

Old Language, New Clothes: Sweet Crude On Singing Modern Pop In Louisiana French

Friday, April 24, 2020

NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks to the New Orleans-based band about their project to preserve the centuries-old Louisiana French dialect through music and how the city is coping with the coronavirus crisis.

Comment

U.S. Hospitals Hit By Financial 'Triple Whammy' During Coronavirus Pandemic

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The CEO and president of the American Hospital Association says members are losing billions due to the cost of treating COVID-19, the rise in uninsured and loss of revenue from elective procedures.

Comment

'Fetch Your Tool Of Liberation': Fiona Apple On Setting Herself Free

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Fiona Apple talks about Fetch the Bolt Cutters, her first album in eight years, getting advice from King Princess to release her record early and what she would say to her teenage self.

Comment

Feisty. Ambitious. Lucky. Female Writers On The Words That Undermine Women

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Pretty Bitches, a new essay collection edited by Lizzie Skurnick, explores how words that sound complimentary can actually be loaded with sexism. "These words are code," Skurnick says.

Comment

Swab Manufacturer Works To Meet 'Overwhelming' Demand

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Maine-based Puritan Medical Products is one of only two companies that manufacture the type of swabs needed to test for the coronavirus. As testing ramps up, a huge demand has only grown.

Comment

Stephen Malkmus On The Challenge Of Playing Acoustically And Pavement's Reunion

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks to the former Pavement frontman about his new album Traditional Techniques, getting his old band back together and whether or not his teenage children listen to his music.

Comment

In 'Sexual Citizens,' Students Open Up About Sex, Power And Assault On Campus

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Profs. Jennifer Hirsch and Shamus Khan asked more than 150 undergrads about their sex lives — what they wanted out of sex, how troubling encounters unfolded, and how misunderstandings led to assault.

Comment

Why Milk And Water Are The Only Drinks Allowed On The Senate Floor

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Capitol Hill Twitter exploded over a report that senators were only allowed to drink milk and water on the floor. Turns out there's a long history of beverage regulation in the legislative body.

Comment

What Day 1 Of Impeachment Sounded Like

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump began in earnest Thursday in the Senate with a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and introductory remarks.

Comment

A Newfound Importance For A Longstanding Senate Tradition — The Candy Drawer

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The longstanding tradition of stocking the Senate candy drawer takes on new importance as the impeachment trial kicks off this week — and is expected to go late into the night.

Comment

Here Comes YouTube: 'Billboard' To Change How It Calculates Top Albums

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Starting Jan. 3, Billboard is changing the way it calculates the top albums of the week. NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Slate writer and critic Chris Molanphy about what the rule changes mean.

Comment

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.

Comment

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.

Comment