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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6:09pm

Mon January 27, 2014
The Edge

'Crazy' And 'Surreal': Figure Skater Jason Brown's Road To Sochi

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 1:17 pm

Jason Brown skates during this year's U.S. Figure Skating Championships at TD Garden in Boston. After his free skate was watched more than 3 million times on YouTube, he said, "I don't know how it happened. ... I'm so shocked, beyond shocked. It's so surreal to me."
Jared Wickerham Getty Images

It's been a good month for U.S. figure skater Jason Brown. At only 19, he placed second at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, securing a spot on the team going to Sochi for next month's Winter Olympics. But it was his free skate at the national competition that electrified the crowd and made a YouTube star of Brown.

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5:32pm

Mon January 27, 2014
The Two-Way

U.S. Agencies, Tech Firms Agree To Rules On Surveillance Info

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 6:53 pm

Internet companies that receive U.S. government requests for information about their customers will be able to disclose more details about surveillance than has been allowed, according to a deal announced today by the Justice Department.

The shift will allow technology and communications companies "to publish the aggregate data ... relating to any orders issued pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)" — and in more ways than had been previously allowed.

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3:47pm

Mon January 27, 2014
The Two-Way

Spoiler Alert? 'Madden NFL 25' Predicts Super Bowl Outcome

Who will win? Videogame maker EA Sports says its Madden NFL 25 predicts an overtime thriller in Sunday's Super Bowl, with Denver edging Seattle. Here, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, left, and Broncos coach John Fox are seen in a composite image.
Getty Images Getty Images

EA Sports says it has seen the future – and the Denver Broncos will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, after a thrilling Super Bowl matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. The video game company plugged in the two teams to predict the outcome: an overtime thriller in which the lead changes hands several times.

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6:06pm

Fri January 24, 2014
The Two-Way

Judge Tells Hospital To Take Pregnant Woman Off Life Support

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 8:10 pm

Erick Munoz is escorted by attorneys as he walks to court in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday. A judge ordered a hospital to take Munoz's wife, who is 22 weeks pregnant, off life support.
Tim Sharp AP

A North Texas judge has ordered a Fort Worth hospital to remove life support from a woman who is 22 weeks pregnant. Her family says Marlise Munoz, 33, is brain-dead. She has reportedly not been awake since November, when she was discovered unconscious in her home. Doctors say she had suffered a pulmonary embolism.

At that time, Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant. Since then, a debate has raged about whether she should be kept alive. Many of the questions center on the details of Munoz's condition, and on state laws about terminating the life of a pregnant woman.

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3:53pm

Fri January 24, 2014
The Two-Way

Which Are The Most, And Least, 'Bible-Minded' Cities In The U.S.?

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 8:26 pm

A new study ranks 100 American cities according to how "Bible-minded" they are. The top spot went to Chattanooga, Tenn. Several cities in the Northeast and West were ranked "least Bible-minded."
Joseph Kaczmarek AP

In an era of shifting populations and values, the notion of America's Bible Belt can be a slippery concept. But a new study gives us an idea of which cities can be considered to be part of that tradition — and which cities aren't.

Chattanooga, Tenn., was named America's most Bible-minded city, followed by Birmingham, Ala., and Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va.

And despite its name, Providence, R.I., was named the least Bible-minded city. It tied New Bedford, Mass., in that slot, followed by Albany, N.Y., and Boston.

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6:46pm

Thu January 23, 2014
The Edge

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

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 1:25 pm

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

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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4:09pm

Wed January 22, 2014
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 2:57 pm

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

5:09pm

Tue January 21, 2014
The Two-Way

One Killed, Suspect In Custody In Purdue University Shooting

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

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

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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3:54pm

Tue January 21, 2014
The Two-Way

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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5:39pm

Fri January 17, 2014
The Two-Way

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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5:15pm

Fri January 17, 2014
The Two-Way

Chemical Company In West Virginia Water Crisis Files For Bankruptcy

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

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

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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3:29pm

Fri January 17, 2014
The Two-Way

Pope Benedict Reportedly Defrocked Hundreds Of Priests For Abuse

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

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

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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2:44pm

Fri January 17, 2014
The Two-Way

What's Inside This Mystery House In North Carolina?

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

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

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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2:44pm

Thu January 16, 2014
The Two-Way

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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6:20pm

Wed January 15, 2014
The Two-Way

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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2:48pm

Wed January 15, 2014
The Two-Way

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

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

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

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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3:04pm

Mon January 13, 2014
The Two-Way

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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5:43pm

Fri January 10, 2014
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 6:28 pm

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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3:50pm

Thu January 9, 2014
The Two-Way

Space Music: How To Hear Solar Flares From The Moon

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:04 pm

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

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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4:35pm

Wed January 8, 2014
The Two-Way

Same-Sex Marriages No Longer Recognized, Utah Tells Agencies

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 5:25 pm

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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6:01pm

Mon January 6, 2014
The Two-Way

Senate Confirms Janet Yellen As Federal Reserve Chair

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 7:13 pm

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

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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5:18pm

Fri January 3, 2014
The Two-Way

This Week's Massive Winter Storm, Seen From Space

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 8:38 am

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

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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4:06pm

Fri January 3, 2014
The Two-Way

Obama Administration Moves To Alter Gun-Buying Rules

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:58 pm

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

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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2:33pm

Fri January 3, 2014
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 2:48 pm

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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1:03pm

Fri January 3, 2014
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:58 pm

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

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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5:19pm

Thu January 2, 2014
The Two-Way

Using Sound To Levitate Objects And Move Them Midair

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 5:28 pm

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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1:07pm

Thu January 2, 2014
The Two-Way

Alleged Hackers Explain Reasons For Posting Snapchat Data

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

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

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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5:50pm

Tue December 31, 2013
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 8:07 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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3:53pm

Tue December 31, 2013
The Two-Way

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

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 2:38 pm

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

1:36pm

Tue December 31, 2013
The Two-Way

Evacuation Lifted Following N.D. Oil Train Derailment

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 4:03 pm

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

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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