Ailsa Chang

Ailsa Chang is a Congressional reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.

Since joining NPR in September 2012, Chang has covered the first major gun control legislation to reach Capitol Hill in two decades, recovery efforts after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy and a multitude of law enforcement issues, including reforms by the overstretched and underfunded police department in Camden, NJ.

Chang spent six years as a lawyer before becoming a journalist. Prior to coming to NPR, Chang was an investigative reporter at NPR member station WNYC from 2009 to 2012 in New York City where she covered criminal justice and other legal issues.

Chang has received numerous national awards for her investigative reporting. In 2012, she was honored with the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her two-part investigative series on the New York City Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" policy and allegations of unlawful marijuana arrests by officers. The reports also earned honors from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists.

She was also the recipient of the Daniel Schorr Journalism Award, a National Headliner Award, and an honor from Investigative Reporters and Editors for her investigation on how Detroit's broken public defender system leaves lawyers with insufficient resources to effectively represent their clients.

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.

Chang graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University where she received her bachelor's degree. She earned a law degree with distinction from Stanford Law School and has two masters degrees, one in media law from Oxford University where she was a Fulbright Scholar and one in journalism from Columbia University.

She also served as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in the chambers of Judge John T. Noonan, Jr.

Chang was a Kroc fellow at NPR from 2008 to 2009. She has also been a reporter and producer for NPR member station KQED in San Francisco.

Chang grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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5:57am

Fri July 19, 2013
Around the Nation

Lawmakers Consider Retooling Voting Rights Act

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 6:00 am

Congress this week has convened its first hearings about the Voting Rights Act since the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of that law last month. The meetings offer some insights into what, if anything, lawmakers will do to restore the stricken section that enables the Justice Department to review in advance changes to state voting laws.

4:09pm

Wed July 17, 2013
Politics

Senate Revisits Voting Rights Act Following Court Ruling

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 7:11 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has held the first congressional hearing on how to resurrect the Voting Rights Act. That's after the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the law last month.

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4:42am

Wed July 17, 2013
Around the Nation

Paul, Cruz Back Bill Changing Military Sexual Assault System

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 6:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And support is growing in Congress for a bill that to allow military prosecutors to decide whether or not to try serious military crimes, including sexual assault. That would take the decision out of the hands of commanders, commanders who are in a position of overseeing the careers of both the victims and the accused. NPR's Ailsa Chang reports that two Republican senators and possible presidential hopefuls in 2016 are joining forces with Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

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5:32pm

Tue July 9, 2013
U.S.

Congress Still Squabbling Over Student Loan Rate Increase

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 6:26 pm

People walk on the Columbia University campus in New York City on July 1, the day the federal student loan interest rate hike kicked in.
Mario Tama Getty Images

The Senate is planning to vote Wednesday on a plan to bring interest rates on subsidized federal student loans back down to 3.4 percent for one more year. The rate doubled on July 1 when the chamber failed to agree on a plan.

While the Senate prepares to take the issue back up, college students are left staring at several competing proposals.

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4:45am

Mon June 24, 2013
U.S.

Why The AR-15 Is More Than Just A Gun

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 12:07 pm

"We've always sold more guns when Democrats are in office than we ever sell when Republicans [are] in office," says Mitch May, the general manager at Clark Brothers Gun Shop in Warrenton, Va.
Ailsa Chang NPR

Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insist that gun control legislation is not dead — they say they're strategizing on how to bring the issue back to the Senate floor.

Even if it does return, one proposal unlikely to survive is an assault weapons ban. Military-style assault rifles now form a nearly $1 billion industry supported by gun owners who spend thousands of dollars collecting these firearms.

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5:27am

Wed June 19, 2013
National Security

Secret Surveillance Credited With Preventing Terror Acts

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The president's administration has plenty to occupy it here at home. The director of the National Security Agency was on Capitol Hill yesterday, defending the surveillance program that's received so much attention in recent in recent days. General Keith Alexander told the House Intelligence Committee that the NSA programs in question have stopped dozens of terrorist attacks, here and abroad. Here's NPR's Ailsa Chang.

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6:14am

Thu June 13, 2013
National Security

NSA Head Tells Senate His Agency Didn't Do Anything Wrong

NSA Director Keith Alexander told a Senate panel that his agency's program did indeed protect American's privacy while gathering data on terrorist activity. Alexander told lawmakers he wants to declassify more details to reassure everyone the programs are legal and effective.

5:58pm

Tue June 11, 2013
It's All Politics

What Did Congress Really Know About NSA Tracking?

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 6:20 pm

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is among the lawmakers who say they were never briefed about the government's surveillance programs.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

If you're a member of Congress and you didn't know about the National Security Agency's phone records program before it was disclosed last week, President Obama has this to say to you: Where have you been?

"When it comes to telephone calls, every member of Congress has been briefed on this program," Obama said to reporters last Friday.

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4:57am

Tue May 28, 2013
Politics

Sen. Reid Threatens Nuclear Option To Confirm Nominees

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 7:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Let's look at one area where Congress can exert its authority over the White House. We're talking about confirmation votes. A batch of President Obama's nominees are heading out of committee and onto a vote by the full Senate. Among them are President Obama's choices to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Environmental Protection Agency and also his nominee as Labor Secretary.

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