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:

Former Sen. Monserrate Charged with Fraud

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Former Queens state senator Hiram Monserrate is once again in trouble with the law.  Federal prosecutors say he took taxpayer money meant for a non-profit to fund his personal senate campaign in 2006.


Four Newburgh Men Convicted in Plot to Bomb New York Synagogues

Monday, October 18, 2010

A federal jury has convicted four Newburgh men of trying to blow up Bronx synagogues and shoot down military planes at Stewart International Airport last May.


Judge Bars Key Prosecution Witness from Testifying at Ghailani Trial

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The first civilian trial for a Guantanamo Bay detainee was delayed Wednesday after a Manhattan federal judge barred prosecutors from calling one of their most important witnesses.


Failed Times Square Bomber Sentenced to Life In Prison

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Pakistani immigrant who tried to kill Americans by driving a homemade car bomb into Times Square in May and leaving it to explode has been sentenced to life in prison. The judge gave Faisal Shahzad a mandatory life prison term at his sentencing Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.


Bloomberg Calls Voting Problems a "Royal Screw Up"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mayor Bloomberg had harsh words on primary day for the way the election was being run in New York City.


Paterson Aide Charged With Assault

Friday, August 13, 2010

David Johnson faces misdemeanor charges for assault, menacing, and criminal mischief and one charge for harassment.


Police Bullet May Have Killed Harlem Man

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Associated Press is now reporting that a New York City police gun probably killed 23-year-old Luis Soto in a Harlem shootout Sunday morning. Only one of the six bullets that hit Soto was retrieved from his body, and officers say that bullet was consistent with bullets from NYPD guns.


NYC Blocked From Hiring New Firefighters Based on 'Invalid' Entrance Exam

Thursday, August 05, 2010

A federal judge is blocking the city from hiring new firefighters, based on a 2007 hiring test, which he says was unfair to black and Hispanic applicants. The New York City Fire Department says it needs to hire 300 new members before the end of August. But Judge Nicholas Garaufis says the city can only do this if it can prove its hiring needs are so urgent that they justify using a test that Garuafis describes as "invalid."


Black Firefighters Say City's Most Recent Entrance Exam Also Racially Discriminates

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A federal judge in Brooklyn will soon decide whether a 2007 entrance exam for firefighters discriminated against blacks and Hispanics.

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Heat Wave Keeps City Firefighters Busy

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

As New York City wilts under its second brutal heat wave this month, New York City firefighters are on pace to have their busiest year in history. July has been an especially busy month. While the city saw record-breaking temperatures, the fire department has responded to a record number of emergencies in the last couple of weeks. Scorching heat waves present special firefighting challenges.


Justice Department Completes Spy Swap

Friday, July 09, 2010

At Vienna's airport, 10 spies arrested in the U.S. were exchanged for four convicted in Russia.


Plan for Appeal in Russian Spy Case

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The U.S. government announces a plan to appeal the decision that releases Russian spy suspect, Vicky Palaez on bail.


Al Qaeda Leader Charged in Bomb Plot

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A new indictment says the failed New York City bomb plot was led by Al Qaeda.


Alleged Russian Spies Due Back in Court

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Nine of the 11 people arrested for allegedly serving as secret Russian spies will be appearing in federal court again today.


Federal Appeals Court Voids Death Penalty for Killer of 2 NYPD Officers

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A federal appeals court on Wednesday tossed out the first federal death sentence given in New York in five decades.


Spies Among Us: How Common is Espionage?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

As more details emerge about the 11 people accused of being secret Russian spies, many are wondering ... are there others out there?


Kagan's Family Watching Senate Supreme Court Hearings

Monday, June 28, 2010

Senate confirmation hearings begin Monday afternoon in Washington for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.


More than 30 Arrested in Identity Theft Ring

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More than 30 people have been arrested for stealing millions of dollars through an identity theft scheme that stretched from Staten Island to Fort Hood, Texas.


Paterson Won't Rule Out Layoffs

Monday, May 17, 2010

Governor David Paterson is not ruling out layoffs as a way to get savings from the state's workforce after a federal judge last week blocked the governor's plan to furlough workers one day a week.


Queens Imam in Zazi Case Faces Deportation

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A federal judge in Brooklyn has ordered Queens imam Ahmad Afzali to leave the country in 90 days after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.