Ailsa Chang, 2013 i
Gabriella Demczuk/NPR
Ailsa Chang, 2013
Gabriella Demczuk/NPR

Ailsa Chang

Congressional Correspondent, Washington Desk

Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who covers Congress for NPR. She landed in public radio after spending six years as a lawyer.

Since joining NPR in 2012, Chang has covered battles over immigration, the healthcare law, gun control and White House appointments. She crisscrossed the country in the months before the Republican takeover of the Senate, bringing stories about Washington from the Deep South, Southwest and New England.

Chang started out as a radio reporter in 2009, and has since earned a string of national awards for her work. In 2012, she was honored with the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for her investigation on the New York City Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" policy and allegations of unlawful marijuana arrests by officers. The series 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.

The former lawyer served as a law clerk to Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.

Chang graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University where she received her bachelor's degree.

She earned her law degree with distinction from Stanford Law School, where she won the Irving Hellman, Jr. Special Award for the best piece written by a student in the Stanford Law Review in 2001.

Chang was also a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University, where she received a master's degree in media law. And she has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Prior to coming to NPR, Chang was an investigative reporter at NPR member station WNYC from 2009 to 2012 in New York City, focusing on criminal justice and legal affairs. She was a Kroc fellow at NPR from 2008 to 2009, as well as 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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To study the draft Trans-Pacific Partnership language, senators have to go to the basement of the Capitol and enter a secured, soundproof room in this hallway and surrender their mobile devices. Ailsa Chang/NPR hide caption

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State Sens. Warren Limmer (left) and Bill Ingebrigtsen talk in the Senate chamber. Limmer said he has been scolded for looking at his colleagues during debate before, and had "to beg forgiveness to the Senate president." David J. Oakes/Minnesota State Senate hide caption

itoggle caption David J. Oakes/Minnesota State Senate

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., center, and the committee's ranking member Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., right, were all smiles April 14 after the committee passed an agreement on oversight of Iran negotiations. But the bill has run into some outspoken opponents in the full Senate. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a rally demanding presidential action to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Sanders will run to Hillary Clinton's left, trying to elevate economic issues. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

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Sen. Mitch McConnell (right) walks with Sen. John Barrasso to a news conference about the compromise Tuesday. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Evan Vucci/AP

Cardin, right, confers with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. during a committee markup meeting on the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran Tuesday. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Win McNamee/Getty Images

Think of reconciliation as the biggest ladder in the game Chutes and Ladders — a procedural shortcut. But a presidential veto of whatever gets passed through reconciliation means tumbling back down a chute. Ben Husmann/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Ben Husmann/Flickr