Rivera claims the police removed marijuana from under his clothes then arrested him for displaying marijuana publicly.  (Photo courtesy Ailsa Chang/WNYC)

Alleged Illegal Searches

Listen to “Alleged Illegal Searches”

Ailsa Chang is relatively new to reporting and boy-oh-boy did she hit the ground running. A year or so after Ailsa began reporting for WNYC in New York City, she won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award for her two-part series “Alleged Illegal Searches by NYPD May Be Increasing Marijuana Arrests.” In fact, Ailsa says the series was her first-ever investigative story.


On this edition of HowSound, Ailsa shares her approach to reporting the criminal justice beat in New York City. In short: make connections,  confirm everything you can, be prepared to sit for long hours in court, make more connections, and report the truth.

By the way, Ailsa recently left WNYC. You may start hearing her voice on signature NPR programs reporting on economics from New York City.

9/15/12 – CORRECTION – In the podcast I state that weeks after Ailsa’s report, New York’s Governor Cuomo “introduced a proposal that would re-define marijuana misdemeanors to reduce incentives for police to conduct illegal searches and arrests.” Actually, the governor didn’t make his proposal until a more than a year after the report. It was state legislators that drafted legislation in the weeks after the report.