Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a blogger and producer who works with NPR's Morning Edition and Digital Media group. In addition to coordinating Web features, he frequently contributes to NPR's blogs, from The Two Way and All Tech Considered to The Salt.

Chappell's work at NPR has ranged from being the site's first full-time homepage editor to leading the London 2012 Olympics blog, The Torch. His assignments have included being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road, as well as establishing the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR.org.

In 2009, Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that redesigned NPR's web site. One year later, the site won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

At NPR, Chappell trains both digital and radio staff to use digital tools to tell compelling stories, in addition to "evangelizing" — promoting more collaboration between departments. Other shows he has worked with include All Things Considered, Fresh Air, and Talk of the Nation.

Prior to joining NPR in late 2003, Chappell worked on the Assignment Desk at CNN International, handling coverage in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, and coordinating CNN's pool coverage out of Qatar.

Chappell's work for CNN also included producing Web stories and editing digital video for SI.com, as well as editing and producing stories for CNN.com's features division. He also worked at the network's video and research library.

Before joining CNN, Chappell wrote about movies, restaurants and music for alternative weeklies, in addition to his first job: editing the police blotter.

From 2002-2003, Chappell served as editor-in-chief of The Trans-Atlantic Journal, a business and lifestyle monthly geared for expatriate Europeans working and living in the United States.

A holder of bachelor's degrees in English and History from the University of Georgia, he attended graduate school for English Literature at the University of South Carolina.

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The Two-Way
8:23 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Buying A Detroit House For $500, And Then Explaining Why

A corner in Poletown, the section of Detroit where Drew Philip bought a house for $500.
Courtesy of Garrett MacLean

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 1:43 pm

Drew Philp made waves this month by explaining to the Internet why he bought a house in struggling Detroit for $500. In his much-discussed story for Buzzfeed, Philp said that he is part of "another Detroit," one where people are working to help each other and save their city.

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The Two-Way
5:09 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

One Killed, Suspect In Custody In Purdue University Shooting

A police officer walks out of the Electrical Engineering Building on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., Tuesday. One person was killed in a classroom by a gunman who surrendered to a police officer within minutes of the attack, officials said.
Michael Conroy AP

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 9:08 pm

Police declared the campus of Purdue University safe Tuesday afternoon, hours after a shooting in a school building alarmed students and sparked a partial evacuation order. One person died in the violence; another has been taken into police custody.

Update at 8:55 p.m. ET: Police Identify Those Involved

At an evening news conference, authorities named student Cody Cousins, 23, as the suspect in today's shooting. And they said the victim who died today was another student, Andrew F. Boldt, 21.

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The Two-Way
3:54 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Cheese To The Rescue: Surprising Spray Melts Road Ice

In Wisconsin, a dairy that makes mozzarella and provolone cheeses is giving its leftover salt brine to counties that use it to help melt road ice. Here, wheels of cheese are stacked in a deli.
iStockphoto

This winter, a Wisconsin county is fighting icy roads with a homegrown product: liquid cheese brine. Tens of thousands of gallons of the stuff are used each year along with road salt, according to officials in Polk County.

The rural county (county seat: Balsam Lake) uses the cheese brine in "pre-wetting for snow and ice control," as Emil "Moe" Norby, technical support manager for the Polk County Highway Department, tells us. And he says the brine has a definite effect when it's mixed with regular road salt.

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The Two-Way
8:29 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

California's Governor Declares Drought State Of Emergency

Gov. Jerry Brown holds a chart showing California's average precipitation as he declares a drought state of emergency for the state Friday. Brown asked residents to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20 percent.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Saying that his state must take steps to plan for prolonged water shortages, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over an extended drought Friday. California faces "water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history," according to the governor's office.

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The Two-Way
7:07 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Federal Judge Says N.C. Ultrasound Abortion Law Is Illegal

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:16 pm

A controversial North Carolina law requiring women who want to have an abortion to undergo an ultrasound scan is illegal, according to a federal judge's ruling issued Friday. The state's law required that the women have a medical professional tell them what the image depicts. It also said the women should "listen to the heartbeat of the unborn child."

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The Two-Way
5:39 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Signs Trillion-Dollar Federal Spending Bill

President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion spending bill into law Friday afternoon, enacting more than 1,500 pages of legislation that received broad support in the House and Senate earlier this week. The expansive bill ensures the U.S. government won't face a potential shutdown until at least October.

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The Two-Way
5:15 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Chemical Company In West Virginia Water Crisis Files For Bankruptcy

Freedom Industries, which has been blamed for a chemical spill that left thousands of people without water, has filed for bankruptcy. The company's facility on Barlow St. is seen here on the banks of the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia.
Tom Hindman Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:40 pm

Freedom Industries, the West Virginia company that's been blamed for a chemical spill that left around 300,000 people without water for days, has filed for bankruptcy. The chemical used in cleaning coal leaked into the Elk River and into the public water system.

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The Two-Way
3:29 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Pope Benedict Reportedly Defrocked Hundreds Of Priests For Abuse

Pope Benedict XVI, seen here in London in 2010, defrocked nearly 400 priests from 2011-2012 for abusing children, according to a document from the Holy See that was obtained by the AP.
Peter Nicholls AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:13 pm

In a period of just over two years, Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests for molesting children, according to the AP, which says it obtained a document representing a rare collection of such data.

As of Friday afternoon, NPR hasn't independently confirmed the AP's information, not having seen the document. Here's a bit of context from NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome:

"If confirmed, the number of nearly 400 marks a sharp increase over the 170 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of defrocked priests.

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

What's Inside This Mystery House In North Carolina?

A close look at this house at 3215 Wade Ave. in Raleigh, N.C., suggests not all is as it seems. There isn't a driveway, for instance, and there's no walkway to the front door.
Eric Mennel WUNC

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:17 pm

From the outside, it's nothing special. Just another 1970s-era house with a landscaped yard, white columns, and green shutters. Thousands of people drive past the split-level on Wade Avenue in Raleigh every month, without a second glance.

And that's just what its owners intended — because this house is far more unusual than its appearance would suggest.

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The Two-Way
7:45 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

'Google Glass Driver' Is Cleared In San Diego Court

Cecilia Abadie wears her Google Glass as she talks with her attorney outside traffic court in December. A California Highway Patrol officer gave Abadie two citations in October; she was cleared of both infractions Thursday.
Lenny Ignelzi AP

Cecilia Abadie, the motorist who was cited for allegedly speeding — and driving while wearing Google Glass — has won her day in court, after a San Diego traffic commissioner ruled there was no proof Abadie had the device's screen on while she drove.

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The Two-Way
7:07 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Gilligan's 'The Professor' Has Died; Russell Johnson Was 89

Actor Russell Johnson, the Professor on Gilligan's Island, has died at age 89. He's seen here at far left seated next to Bob Denver, along with fellow cast members from left, Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Tina Louise, Alan Hale Jr., and Dawn Wells.
CBS /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 8:09 pm

Russell Johnson, the actor whose job it was to be the voice of reason and calm on an island of shipwrecked ninnies, has died at age 89, according to reports. Johnson's role as the Professor on the 1960s comedy Gilligan's Island endeared him to audiences who watched him build radios and generators from things like coconuts and palm branches.

Johnson reportedly died of natural causes today at his home in Bainbridge Island, Wash.

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The Two-Way
7:00 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

With Senate's OK, $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Heads To Obama

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 7:44 pm

A massive $1.1 trillion spending bill has gained Senate approval, allowing Congress to send a wide-ranging bill to President Obama for his signature. The massive bill will prevent any gaps in government funding as well as take some of the sting out of automatic spending cuts.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

NSA Reportedly Collected Millions Of Phone Texts Every Day

The NSA used a program codenamed Dishfire to collect text messages worldwide that were then used to extract location and financial data, according to The Guardian. Here, women use their cellphones in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

As recently as 2011, the National Security Agency was collecting almost 200 million text messages each day, according to a new story by The Guardian that cites documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The texts were used to develop financial and location data, the newspaper says.

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

In London, The Case Of The Purloined Water Lily

One of the world's rarest flowers has been stolen, Britain's Kew Gardens announced this week. The water lily Nymphaea thermarum is seen here in 2010.
Andrew McRobb AP

An exceptionally rare flower that is virtually extinct has been stolen from London's Kew Gardens, in a crime that experts say could be the work of an obsessed collector. British newspapers say that stealing the precious Nymphaea thermarum water lily "is like an old master theft."

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The Two-Way
8:58 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Pregnant Women Warned Against Drinking Water In W.Va. Area

The Freedom Industries facility sits on the banks of the Elk River last Friday, in Charleston, W.Va., site of a chemical spill that has led to a ban on using tap water in the area. The CDC says pregnant women in affected areas should drink only bottled water.
Tom Hindman Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging pregnant women who live in the areas of West Virginia where a toxic chemical leaked into the water supply last week to drink bottled water, even in places where the no-use ban has been lifted. The move comes "out of an abundance of caution," the CDC and the state's Bureau of Public Health say.

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The Two-Way
8:39 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Rental Car Surprise: Comes With An AR-15 In The Back

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:43 pm

A Florida vacation got off to an odd start for Judith Fleissig, 58, of Rochester, N.Y., when she and her daughter realized the car they'd rented had an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. More oddness followed: The gun was left there by the wife of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, police say.

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The Two-Way
6:20 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Obama Nominates Maria Contreras-Sweet To Head SBA

President Barack Obama announces he will nominate Maria Contreras-Sweet, left, founder and board chairman of a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles, as the head of the Small Business Administration.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Former California official Maria Contreras-Sweet is President Obama's pick to lead the Small Business Administration. She was introduced and her official nomination announced at a White House event Thursday.

Born in Mexico, Contreras-Sweet became the first Latina to serve as a cabinet secretary in California when she led its Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999-2003.

That post led Obama to tell this anecdote:

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The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

What's America's Problem? 1 In 5 Says It's The Government

Dissatisfaction with America's government headed the list of problems cited in a new Gallup poll. Here, dusk falls on the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 30 — the eve of the federal shutdown that further frustrated many citizens.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 9:05 pm

The biggest problem the United States faces is not unemployment or the economy — it's the country's government, according to a plurality of Americans cited in a recent Gallup poll. Among Republicans, Democrats and independents, dissatisfaction with the U.S.'s political leadership topped all other issues.

The open-ended question they answered in the monthly poll of American attitudes was, "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?"

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The Two-Way
8:46 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Battery Problem Reported On Boeing Dreamliner In Japan

A Japan Airlines Boeing 787, like this one seen last July in Boston, was temporarily grounded Tuesday after a mechanic spotted smoke coming from the craft's battery compartment.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:01 pm

Reports of white smoke from a battery compartment have temporarily grounded a Boeing 787 in Japan, nearly a year after all the new airliners were grounded owing to a problem with batteries overheating. Today's incident happened on an airliner at Tokyo's Narita Airport that had no passengers aboard.

It was during a preflight checkout that a mechanic saw smoke emerging from the underside of a Japan Airlines 787, according to Japan's NHK TV News

From the broadcaster:

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The Two-Way
8:15 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Water Bans Lifted In Several West Virginia Areas

In West Virginia, a ban on water use has been lifted in at least three areas affected by a chemical spill. Here, Al Jones of the state's General Services department tests the water as he flushes a faucet and opens a restroom on the first floor of the Capitol in Charleston on Monday.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:10 am

A ban on using tap water has been lifted in at least three areas affected by a chemical spill in West Virginia, where some 300,000 water customers received "do not use" advisories Thursday. Since then, water has been trucked in to the affected area, which includes nine counties.

West Virginia American Water residents were told they should use the water only for flushing toilets — not for drinking, cooking or washing.

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The Two-Way
6:53 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Desegregation Pact Gets Judge's Approval In Arkansas

A long-running school desegregation fight in Arkansas is over, after a federal judge accepted a settlement reached by the state, lawyers for black students, and three school districts in and around Little Rock. Under the deal, the state will no longer have to send payments — around $70 million this year — to aid desegregation.

According to the terms of the deal, those payments can stop after the 2017-2018 school year. They had been mandated by a court-ordered program that also included forming magnet schools and shifting students between school districts.

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The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Side Effect Of Legal Pot: Police Budgets Take A Hit

The legalization of marijuana could dry up a revenue stream for police, according to reports. Here, two men share a water pipe underneath the Space Needle shortly after a law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana took effect in Seattle in 2012.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Some U.S. states are viewing the legalization of marijuana as a chance to gain new sources of tax revenue. Several states allow its use for medical reasons; Colorado has approved its recreational use, and Washington will follow suit this year.

But the decriminalization of pot also stands to remove a funding source for police: property forfeitures from drug dealers. Such funding is "going up in smoke," The Wall Street Journal reports.

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The Two-Way
8:47 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Neiman Marcus Says Hackers Stole Credit Card Data

Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus isn't yet saying how many customers might be at risk, but it is confirming that a breach of credit card data took place. The company says it learned of "potentially unauthorized payment card activity" before Christmas. The company says it is working with federal investigators, and a forensics team is trying to determine the size of the breach.

The digital security expert Brian Krebs wrote about the stolen credit card data today:

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The Two-Way
7:58 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

$1.35 Billion In Losses Reported By Nevada's Major Casinos

Large casinos in Nevada are continuing their losing streak, reporting more than a billion dollars in losses for the most recent fiscal year. Here, a view of Paris Las Vegas, a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip.
John Gurzinski AFP/Getty Images

Nevada's big casinos are on a losing streak. For the fifth straight year, the state's largest casinos are reporting net losses – in this case, a total of $1.35 billion in the most recent fiscal year. That's the news from a report released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board Friday, which focuses on casinos that gross at least $1 million in gaming revenue.

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The Two-Way
6:28 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

N.J. Bridge Scandal: New Emails And Documents Are Released

Newly released documents depict officials discussing the controversial September closure of several lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, N.J. Here, the New Jersey side of the bridge, which leads to New York City, is seen Thursday.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

A New Jersey State Assembly committee released a trove of documents Friday that shed more light on the bridge lane-closure scandal that is embroiling Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration. The panel is seeking details on what's seen as an act of political retribution, which targeted the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. It obtained the documents under a subpoena.

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