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 Edge
3:47 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Welcome To The Edge: NPR's Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Blog

Olympic Park in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. NPR will bring you the most interesting things we see and learn from the 2014 Winter Olympics. The first events are on Feb. 6, one day before the opening ceremony.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 11:25 am

Today marks the start of The Edge, a blog hosting NPR's coverage of the Sochi Winter Games. The Edge is about the journeys Olympic athletes take to get better. From skaters to skiers, no two journeys are alike. But they all end at the same place: in competition. And many of them are fascinating.

As we've prepared for the games that begin Feb. 6 — in just two weeks — NPR has been following many stories of athletes and equipment, of money and security.

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The Two-Way
2:37 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Wrestling Fans Mourn Mae Young, 90 — A Pioneer Of The Ring

A still image from a WWE video tribute to Mae Young shows the famed wrestler during the early years of her career. Young died last week in South Carolina.
WWE

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 12:57 pm

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The Two-Way
3:09 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 7:08 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
1:54 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
4:28 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

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

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:16 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
3:39 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
3:15 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 5:40 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
1:29 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 5:13 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
12:44 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 3:17 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
4:44 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

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

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 5:44 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
4:21 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 6:09 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
3:10 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
12:44 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
4:20 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
1:49 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 7:05 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
12:34 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

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 1:04 pm

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
4:28 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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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Space Music: How To Hear Solar Flares From The Moon

Live, from the moon, it's the space weather report: Data from a lunar orbiter is being used to create a music stream that reflects conditions in space. Here, an image created by NASA "visualizers" who used data from 2010 to show the moon traveling across the sun, as happens two or three times a year.
NASA/SDO/LRO/GSFC

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 4:04 pm

We've been following the coronal mass ejection that headed toward Earth after an intense solar flare was emitted from the sun earlier this week. And now NASA tells us that such events can be heard, in a sense, by tuning in to CRaTER Radio, a "sonification" project that uses data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to generate musical sounds and stream them on the Internet.

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The Two-Way
4:34 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Solar Flare Will Hit Earth Thursday; Northern Lights May Expand South

Coming At You: An image created by NASA combines two pictures from its Solar Dynamics Observatory. One shows the location of a large sunspot; the other shows Tuesday's massive solar flare.
NASA/SDO

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:51 pm

Tired of reading about intensely cold temperatures? Here's some news that might help take your mind off this week's deep freeze. It could even give you an excuse to hang around outside Thursday.

An intense solar flare is being blamed for disrupting a NASA mission and could force airlines to reroute some flights. That's the bad news. The good news is that the flare is also expected to expand the viewing field of the aurora borealis southward, perhaps down to Colorado and Illinois.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Same-Sex Marriages No Longer Recognized, Utah Tells Agencies

Utah is instructing state officials to put services and paperwork for same-sex couples on hold, reflecting a recent U.S. Supreme Court order that halted gay marriages in the state. Utah is appealing a district court's ruling last month that its ban on same-sex marriage is not constitutional. The state was granted a stay as it pursues the matter.

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The Two-Way
4:47 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Senate Confirms Janet Yellen As Federal Reserve Chair

The Senate has approved Janet Yellen as the next head of the Federal Reserve. At a ceremony commemorating the Fed's centennial last month, Yellen sat with (from left-to-right) former chairmen Paul Volker and Alan Greenspan, and current Fed leader Ben Bernanke.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:13 pm

The Senate has voted to approve the nomination of Janet Yellen as the next leader of the U.S. Federal Reserve. With Monday's vote, Yellen, 67, will become the first woman to serve as America's banking chief, heading an institution that was established in 1913.

Update at 6:31 p.m. ET: Some Senators Left Out

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

This Week's Massive Winter Storm, Seen From Space

A composite image shows large portions of the United States covered by snow, as a winter storm moved eastward across the country Thursday.
NASA/GSFC/Aqua/MODIS

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 6:38 am

NASA caught our eye earlier today when the space agency tweeted a composite image of the huge winter storm that has covered parts of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. with a deep blanket of snow.

The photos that make up the image were taken Thursday, NASA says, during several passes of its Aqua satellite. The craft used its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer — MODIS — "to capture this true-color image of a massive winter storm moving up the eastern seaboard," the agency says.

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The Two-Way
2:06 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Obama Administration Moves To Alter Gun-Buying Rules

President Obama speaks in April after the Senate rejected a bill that would expand background checks on guns. The White House is seeking to clarify rules that bar firearm possession due to mental health problems.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 4:58 pm

Federal agencies are proposing new rules for handling gun buyers' background checks, in changes the Obama administration says will "keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands." The changes include a clarification of rules barring firearm possession due to mental health problems.

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The Two-Way
12:48 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Couples Urge Sotomayor To Deny Utah's Bid To Block Gay Marriage

Attorneys for same-sex couples say Utah officials who want to block gay marriages "cannot meet their burden" of showing either an error by a lower court or serious damage if the ceremonies continue, according to papers filed with the Supreme Court Friday. The filing urges the court to deny a request to halt the unions in Utah.

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The Two-Way
10:46 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Ford Tops Resurgent U.S. Car Industry, 2013 Sales Results Show

Ford says it sold the most F-series trucks since 2006. Here, a 2014 F-150 goes through quality control on the assembly line at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 11:58 am

Ford and GM are calling 2013 the best year for U.S. auto sales in at least five years. On Friday, they reported double-digit annual gains, while Chrysler reported an increase of 9 percent for its strongest year since 2007.

The new sales figures reflect a continuing turnaround from the struggles that led to a federal bailout in recent years. Here are highlights from each company's report:

Ford

  • Retail sales were up 14 percent in 2013, as Ford sold 2,493,918 vehicles.
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The Two-Way
3:28 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Using Sound To Levitate Objects And Move Them Midair

An image shows particles levitating in space between four sets of speakers. A Japanese team says they have used the system to manipulate items in mid-air.
Yoichi Ochiai

Researchers in Tokyo have put a new twist on the use of sound to suspend objects in air. They've used ultrasonic standing waves to trap pieces of wood, metal, and water – and even move them around.

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Alleged Hackers Explain Reasons For Posting Snapchat Data

The logo and a page of mobile app "Snapchat" are displayed on tablets. Hackers broke into Snapchat, the popular mobile app, accessing the phone numbers and usernames of 4.6 million users and publishing them online.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 12:56 pm

After millions of Snapchat usernames and other data were posted online, a group is saying it revealed the partial phone numbers and other information because the social-sharing service didn't do enough to increase its security. The popular service allows users to send images that vanish 10 seconds after they're seen.

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The Two-Way
3:28 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Utah Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Stop Gay Marriages

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:07 pm

Utah's attorney general has filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay that would allow the state to enforce its limit of marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

Similar requests have already been rejected by district and circuit courts. Earlier this month, a federal district court invalidated Utah's ban on gay marriage that was endorsed by voters in 2004, saying it is not constitutional.

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve: Dubai Puts On A Record-Setting Fireworks Show

Fireworks explode over Palm Jumeirah in Dubai on Jan. 1, 2014, to celebrate the new year. Dubai's glittering fireworks display that lasted around six minutes spanned over 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the Dubai coast, which boasts an archipelago of man-made islands.
Karim Sahib AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 12:38 pm

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The Two-Way
11:17 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Evacuation Lifted Following N.D. Oil Train Derailment

A fire burns west of Casselton, N.D., Monday, after oil tanker cars exploded following a train derailment. No one has been reported hurt in the derailment or fire. But officials are recommending residents of the town to stay away from the potentially toxic smoke.
Ken Pawluk AP

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 2:03 pm

One day after a train carrying crude oil derailed and sparked explosions near a small North Dakota town, officials are warning of a cloud of toxic fumes. Many of the 2,400 residents of Casselton, N.D., have followed evacuation orders.

A fire sparked by the crash burned through the night and into Tuesday morning, with thick smoke complicating a search of the crash scene just outside Casselton's city limits.

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