Ailsa Chang, multimedia journalist

Ailsa Chang’s profile on wnyc.org says that she has been working as a journalist for New York public radio station WNYC. Prior to becoming a journalist, Chang practiced law for five years, and currently covers law for WNYC.

Alleged Illegal Searches by NYPD May Be Increasing Marijuana Arrests

This is the first part of the two-part series that won Chang the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, which is one of the highest awards in broadcast journalism. The testimonies given by the sources are very telling of the problem with the searches occurring in New York City.

Alleged Illegal Searches By NYPD Rarely Challenged in Marijuana Cases

The second half of the piece focuses on the events that occur after the illegal searches, namely the judicial end of the process. I like the inclusion of a police officer’s testimony because it gives the listener a sense of

NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisks Reach Record Highs

I like that this follow-up article is packaged with an interactive map of all the precincts, with information on the racial makeup of the precinct and how many stop-and-frisk encounters per 1000 people. This graphic puts the whole article in perspective for the reader, especially those who live in the city.

For City’s Teens, Stop And Frisk Is Black And White

The follow-up story focuses on the individual aspect of the city’s increase in random searches. I like that the article is accompanied by an audio piece. The focus is on the subjects talking about their experiences with police stops, which drives the point home when you realize how young most of the children are.

People On Terrorism Watch List Not Blocked From Buying Guns

I thought this piece was particularly important due to the proximity to the Boston Marathon explosions, at a point in the coverage where the media had more or less covered every angle of the bombings. This piece has an audio file that accompanies it, which is good because it gives an extra weight to the quotes included in the written story.

Betting on a New Demographic for OTB

The ambient sound on this audio presentation really paints a good picture of the off-track betting site, and the testimonial of those involved in the betting on horses and those attempting to change the process of off-track betting works very well.

Election Watchdogs: Humans, Not Machines, Caused Primary Day Problems

Chang’s report on problems in the 2010 election uses quotes from the detractors and also from the supporters of the machine based polling to show the issues polling places in the city experienced. The only complaint I would have would be the fact that the audio of the sources is phone audio, which is of a lesser quality.

Many Same-Sex Couples Avoid Gay Marriages Over Legal, Personal Concerns

I included this audio piece because of the subject of it. The story came in the wake of New York’s decision to allow same-sex marriage, and discusses the fact that the law did not change federal policy on the subject. Chang picked good sources to record, and also good background noise to paint the scene of the pub that the first interview occurs in.

Sick Workers’ Dilemma: Stay Home Or Go To Work?

Chang’s piece examining the personal effect of the 2012 flu season on workers is interesting in that it focuses on a worker who didn’t stop coming to work, and ended up infecting multiple coworkers. The quotes drive home the fact that the people infected still want to work because they either can’t afford to lose the money they’re earning or that they don’t want to miss any days.

Four Things To Know About The Next Big Budget Battle

I chose this piece because of how informative it is. Chang allows the politicians to attempt to explain the sequester and what it means, then explains the process in greater detail after. She explains in a clear, concise way, and I appreciate that.

Ailsa Chang’s Overall Work

Overall, I really enjoy Chang’s pieces on the activities of New York City police. She interviews a wide range of sources to paint a much broader picture of the situation. She manages to present both sides relatively well, although sometimes it’s apparent that she is writing an article that is sympathetic to those affected by police protocol. Her writing contains much of the same content as the audio pieces that play on the radio, but the extra information is always helpful as well.

I sincerely wish Chang would try video work, and believe that many of the sources she interviews would be great subjects to put on camera. She manages to get relatively in depth with a short (3 minute) audio format, so doing the same with video would lead to a really interesting piece.

I really enjoyed the piece Chang won awards for, because it doesn’t necessarily lean for or against the police force, it just presents the stories of those affected by the police not following proper search-and-frisk protocol. The story also allows for Chang to do multiple follow-up stories, and examine sides of the controversy that many would not think to cover. I really enjoy that Chang states the facts and removes much of her bias before showing the audience what her sources think. That is a mark of a good journalist, and Chang does it very well.

Chang’s years as a lawyer allow her to focus on the law beat in NYC, but I would like to see her cover something else, as her entire catalog is filled with law stories and government stories. Chang’s reporting ability would allow her to be successful covering most anything, and she could continue making more varied audio pieces. I really like that Chang is able to first publish a story about an event, then make follow-ups for weeks after. The best part of journalism is being able to read stories that are connected by either topic, sources, or subject matter, and Chang has done that with the 2010 elections and New York police protocol.

The main complaint I have with Chang’s multimedia is that she does so many audio/print pieces, and does less of everything else. She takes photos for her pieces on occasion, but her stories usually just have audio and accompanying print, which isn’t bad, but video would certainly drive home some of her points more.

Chang has only been working as a journalist since 2009, but in that short time, she has collected awards and accolades from multiple news organizations, and if she continues to make pieces of this quality, then she will continue enjoying success in the field.

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