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:

Morning News Break: Political Fallout From White Nationalist Rally

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

President Trump on Monday delivered a statement directly calling out the hate groups behind the violence in Charlottesville, Va. And, 3 CEOs resigned from Trump's advisory council on manufacturing.

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News Brief: Trump Speaks Out About North Korea, Opioid Crisis

Friday, August 11, 2017

President Trump says his promise to meet Pyongyang's threats with "fire and fury" might have been too soft. And, he says he's ready to declare the nation's opioid crisis "a national emergency."

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Morning News Brief: North Korea Sanctions, Venezuela's Political Crisis

Monday, August 07, 2017

The U.N. Security Council voted to impose sanctions against North Korea for its missile launches. Anti-government fighters infiltrated a Venezuela military base — trying to start an uprising.

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Morning News Brief: Trump Backs Merit-Based Immigration System

Thursday, August 03, 2017

The president says the system is so unfair that he wants to cut legal immigration in half over the next decade. In West Virginia, he'll point to the bill as way he's made good on a campaign promise.

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Trying To Understand 'What Made Maddy Run'

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Journalist Kate Fagan's new book digs into the life of a young woman whose suicide shocked the University of Pennsylvania, where she ran track. Madison Holleran's life seemed perfect, until it wasn't.

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Familiar-Looking Numbers Are The Latest Twist In Robocalls

Monday, July 31, 2017

Ailsa Chang looks at a now rampant kind of robocalling — neighbor spoofing. These are automated calls coming from phone numbers that look strangely similar to the recipient's own phone numbers.

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Episode 786: Rest of the Story 2017, Vol. 1

Friday, July 28, 2017

News moves fast. Some of our best stories from this year have new chapters. Here, we catch up on three: Dirty trademarks, trading bots, and the war against the bald eagle.

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Episode 784: Meeting The Russians

Friday, July 14, 2017

That meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer was two decades in the making. It began in 1996, when an adventurous American went to Russia, trying to make a buck.

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Opioids As The New Big Tobacco

Friday, June 30, 2017

A wave of litigation by state attorneys general against the biggest opioid manufacturers and distributors feels reminiscent of lawsuits brought by states in the 1990s against the tobacco industry.

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Episode 774: Unspeakable Trademark

Friday, May 26, 2017

You can name your business whatever you want. But the government won't register it as a trademark if it thinks it's offensive. It gets weird when you try to decide what is too offensive to trademark.

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Economists Debate If Tax Cuts Pay For Themselves

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

A decades-old economic theory is making a comeback. The theory: tax cuts can pay for themselves. Trump administration advisers have repeated this mantra to explain their corporate tax rate cut.

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Lawyer Behind West Virginia County Lawsuit Against Opioid Distributors

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pharmaceutical distributors — the middle men in the opioid epidemic — have already been paying out millions to federal and state law enforcement officials for the companies' role in the crisis. But a new front in the legal battle against opioids has opened. One personal injury lawyer in small-town West Virginia has come up with a creative legal theory to go after these distributors so that small, ravaged communities can collect too.

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Episode 764: Pub In A Box

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

One man figured out how to reproduce the magic of an Irish pub, and ship it in a container to anywhere in the world.

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The Mastermind Behind The International Irish Pub

Friday, April 07, 2017

NPR's Planet Money team explores why Irish bars look so similar all over the world and what happens when you take an authentic national experience and turn it into an export.

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Judge Neil Gorsuch Sums Up His Philosophy In 7 Words

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

On Day 2 of his confirmation hearing, the U.S. Supreme Court nominee answers one question before the Senate Judiciary Committee with this: "I have one client, it's the law."

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How To Spend A Trillion Dollars

Thursday, March 16, 2017

President Trump says he wants to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure. It's such a big number that it's hard to wrap your head around it. We try to figure out what that actually buys.

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House Speaker Welcomes Resignation Of National Security Adviser Flynn

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan welcomed the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, but many lawmakers have unanswered questions about contacts between the Trump team and Russia.

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The Power Center: How A Moderate Wields Big Influence In A Polarized Senate

Friday, February 10, 2017

Maine Republican Susan Collins recently opposed Betsy DeVos for education secretary. Collins will be at the center of some of President Trump's big fights, from health care to the Supreme Court.

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In Divided Senate, Maine's Susan Collins Emerges As Critical Voice

Thursday, February 09, 2017

With Republicans in control of a closely divided Senate, Susan Collins, a centrist GOP senator from Maine, has once again emerged as a critical voice and vote on big issues.

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Trump Tells GOP To 'Go Nuclear' If Democrats Block Supreme Court Nominee

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

President Trump encouraged Senate Republicans to "go nuclear" if Democrats filibuster his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. But it's not clear either side is prepared to take things that far and upend Senate order.

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