Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a blogger and producer who currently works on The Two Way, NPR's flagship blog. In the past, he has coordinated digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, and edited the rundown of All Things Considered. He frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as All Tech Considered and The Salt.

Chappell's work at NPR has ranged from being the site's first full-time homepage editor to being the lead writer and editor on 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 has trained both digital and radio staff to use digital tools to tell compelling stories, in addition to "evangelizing" — promoting more collaboration between legacy and digital departments.

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 during the Iraq war.

Chappell's work for CNN also included producing Web stories and editing digital video for SI.com, and editing and producing stories for CNN.com's features division.

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

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
1:05 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

NFL Makes It Official: Sarah Thomas Is First Woman To Be A Full-Time Ref

Sarah Johnson makes a call during the first half of an April 2014 preseason NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Diego Chargers.
Stephen Brashear AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 5:30 pm

Confirming a long-anticipated move, the NFL has hired its first female official on a full-time basis. Sarah Thomas, 41, has spent nearly a decade working her way through the ranks in the NCAA.

The league announced the move Wednesday, days after the news of Thomas' impending hire came out. For several years now, her name has been mentioned as a candidate for a spot at football's elite level.

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The Two-Way
11:44 am
Wed April 8, 2015

'My Heart Was Broken,' Says Father Of S.C. Man Slain By Police

In an image taken from video provided by an attorney representing the family of Walter Lamer Scott, Scott appears to be running away from City Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager, right, an instant before Slager opened fire. Scott was killed in the encounter.
AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 8:29 pm

The police officer who fatally shot his son "looked like he was trying to kill a deer running through the woods," says Walter Scott Sr. That officer, Michael Slager, now faces a murder charge in the death of Walter Scott, who was unarmed and running away from Slager when he was shot multiple times.

The deadly encounter in North Charleston, S.C., between Slager, who is white, and Scott, who was black, has reignited discussions over police use of force, particularly in minority communities.

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The Two-Way
8:29 am
Wed April 8, 2015

London Thieves Take Up To $300 Million In Gems In Easter Heist

In an elaborate crime that went undetected until Tuesday morning, thieves broke into a safe deposit center used by many jewelers. Here, a woman believed to be a police forensics officer emerges from the building.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 10:12 am

In a complex crime that relied on a descent down an elevator shaft and on heavy cutting equipment, thieves made away with up to $300 million in gems and other valuables stolen from a secure facility where jewelry stores often stow their holdings. It could go down as the richest heist in Britain's history.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Ferguson Voters Elect 2 Black Members To City Council

Rich Baranowski (left) and Tracy Hardy vote Tuesday in the Ferguson, Mo., municipal election. Three of the city's six seats will now be filled by black council members.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 10:13 am

In a first, the City Council in Ferguson, Mo., is now half white and half black, after voters added two more African-Americans to the six-member group. Voter turnout was reported at 30 percent in the majority-black community.

The voter turnout "surpasses recent municipal elections in Ferguson — and nearly doubles the roughly 16 percent turnout in the rest of St. Louis County," St. Louis Public Radio reports.

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The Two-Way
2:09 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Three-Peat Or Upset? UConn And Notre Dame Play For Women's NCAA Title

Jewell Loyd and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will again face Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and the Connecticut Huskies in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Championship. They're seen here in last year's title game.
Frederick Breedon Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 4:24 pm

In a rematch of the 2014 final, the University of Connecticut will face off against Notre Dame in the NCAA women's basketball final Tuesday night. UConn's Huskies will be trying for their third consecutive title.

The championship game will start at 8:30 p.m. ET; it'll air on ESPN.

For Notre Dame, tonight brings a chance to overcome years of frustration. In three of the past four years, the team has lost in the championship game. The Irish last won it all in 2001.

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The Two-Way
12:07 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Lucille Ball Sculptor Apologizes For 'By Far My Most Unsettling' Work

A bronze sculpture of Lucille Ball is displayed in Lucille Ball Memorial Park in her hometown of Celoron, N.Y. Since the sculpture was unveiled in 2009, it has been blasted by critics who say it bears little or no likeness to the popular 1950s sitcom actress and comedian.
The Post-Journal AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 1:34 pm

Responding to complaints about a sculpture meant to honor comedian Lucille Ball in her hometown, artist Dave Poulin says he'll fix it for free. "I take full responsibility for 'Scary Lucy,' " he says, adding that he didn't mean "to disparage in any way the memories of the iconic Lucy image."

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Tue April 7, 2015

In Movie Piracy Case, Australian ISPs Are Ordered To Share Customers' Info

The producers of Dallas Buyers Club want to contact people who have viewed pirated copies of the film. Here, actor Jared Leto accepts an award for his work in the film at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 11:17 am

Australia's Federal Court has ordered six Internet service providers to hand over information about people accused of illegally downloading and sharing the film Dallas Buyers Club online. The companies had initially refused a request to provide their customers' data.

It's being called a landmark ruling in Australia, where delayed film release dates are blamed for helping create one of the highest rates of Web piracy in the world.

From Sydney, Stuart Cohen reports for NPR's Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Tue April 7, 2015

In Reclaimed Tikrit, Mass Graves From Brutal ISIS Occupation

Iraqi soldiers salute as they stand next to a mass grave believed to hold Shiite soldiers from Camp Speicher who were killed by Islamic State militants.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 11:49 am

As many as 1,700 bodies are believed to be in mass graves that have been unearthed near the site of a massacre of Iraqi soldiers manning a former U.S. military base. The killings took place last summer, when fighters from the self-proclaimed Islamic State seized Tikrit.

Soldiers and forensic teams are sifting through the graves; so far, they have found more than 10 different burial sites that hold what are believed to be the bodies of soldiers and recruits who had been captured at Camp Speicher. The men were then machine-gunned in front of mass graves.

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Opening Day: Baseball Season Starts In Earnest

The Minnesota Twins warm up before their Opening Day game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit Monday.
Leon Halip Getty Images

In 204 days, two teams will face off in the World Series. Until then, fans can dream about their team winning it all, as Major League Baseball's regular season gets going. St. Louis and Chicago played the first game Sunday night; the Cubs lost, 3-0.

Along with that loss, Chicago's fans also endured restroom wait times of up to 30 minutes. Blaming the problem on at least two bathrooms being closed, the club has apologized, Chicago news TV WGN says.

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Mon April 6, 2015

French Special Forces Free Dutch Hostage Held In Mali Since 2011

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 11:08 am

More than three years after he was taken hostage by an al-Qaida-linked group, a Dutch citizen was freed by French commandos early Monday morning in West Africa. The raid in northern Mali killed several of Sjaak Rijke's captors; others were taken captive.

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Mon April 6, 2015

NCAA Men's Final: Wisconsin And Duke Play For It All Monday Night

Frank Kaminsky of the Wisconsin Badgers will face off against the Duke Blue Devils' Jahlil Okafor in Monday night's NCAA title game. When the teams played in December, Duke won 80-70.
Mike McGinnis Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 10:11 am

Not since the World War II era has Wisconsin vied for the NCAA's top men's basketball championship. They'll do it tonight against Duke, in a game that pits two balanced teams — and two talented big men — against each other.

For Wisconsin, a win will bring its first title since 1941. Perennial power Duke last won it all in 2010. Tipoff at 9:18 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on CBS or at the NCAA website.

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The Two-Way
7:01 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Red Cross Plans To Fly Supplies, Medical Workers Into Yemen

Aid shipments are being planned for Yemen, after the International Committee of the Red Cross negotiated safe passage with Saudi Arabia, which has been bombing Houthi rebels. Help could arrive Monday.

When they arrive, medical teams and rescue workers will try to help those caught in the fighting that has intensified in the past two weeks. Three Yemen Red Crescent volunteers have died in the past week while trying help, the group says.

A pause in the fighting would also allow civilians to venture out for crucial supplies — and to hold funerals.

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The Two-Way
12:18 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

NFL Is Reportedly Hiring Its First Female Full-Time Official

Sarah Thomas calls holding during a preseason game between the Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints in 2013.
Michael Democker The Times-Picayune/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 2:41 pm

Sarah Thomas has officiated football games in the NCAA and for the NFL's preseason and training camps. For the 2015 NFL season, she'll reportedly be a full-time official.

The news was broken this morning by Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson, who called it "a ground-breaking move." Thomas, 42, is a Mississippi native who has been widely regarded as a contender for a regular NFL contract.

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Did A 19th-Century Brothel Tunnel Cause A Sinkhole In Dublin?

A sinkhole that opened on Dame Street in Dublin, Ireland, this week is suspected of being caused by an old tunnel lawmakers used to visit brothels. The street is seen here in 1911.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 2:59 pm

A sinkhole opened up on Dame Street in Dublin this week, and an Irish historian says a storied tunnel that allowed politicians to visit brothels in the 19th century could be to blame. The hole was measured at 6 feet deep and 2 feet wide.

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The Two-Way
8:26 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Kenya Copes With Deadliest Attack Since 1998 Embassy Bombing

Garissa University students comfort each other after they were rescued from Thursday's deadly attack.
Daniel Irungu EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 10:21 am

One day after four gunmen killed at least 147 people in an attack on a university campus in Kenya, police are hunting terrorism suspects, and students are debating whether to return to Garissa University College. A teachers union says the school should shut down.

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The Two-Way
6:54 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Germanwings Co-Pilot Accelerated Toward Crash, Officials Say

The crash site of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Evidence from the flight data recorder shows the co-pilot accelerated as the airliner headed toward the mountainside, French investigators say.
BEA

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 4:01 pm

Citing data from the flight recorder of crashed Germanwings Flight 9525, officials say that the co-pilot accelerated several times as the airliner made its fatal descent with 150 people on board last week.

France's aviation safety agency says the plane's newly recovered data recorder shows the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, set the aircraft's autopilot to put it on a course and altitude that would crash it into a mountainside in the French Alps. He dialed the plane's altitude down to 100 feet, the lowest setting.

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The Two-Way
2:19 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Like Mars: Dusty Sandstorm Blocks Visibility And Travel In Dubai

Cars are seen driving Thursday amid a sandstorm that engulfed the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Marwan Naamani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 5:32 pm

Dubai took on a Mars-like glow Thursday, after a major sandstorm descended upon the city in the United Arab Emirates. Conditions forced airlines to delay or cancel flights in Dubai after the sandstorm arrived from Saudi Arabia early in the morning.

For a sense of the scale of the sandstorm's impact, consider that Dubai is a city of more than 2 million people. Earlier this year, Dubai International Airport was named the busiest in the world, supplanting London's Heathrow.

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Thu April 2, 2015

World's Muslim Population Will Surpass Christians This Century, Pew Says

Indonesian Muslims perform Eid Al-Adha prayer at Al-Akbar Mosque in Oct. 2014 in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Robertus Pudyanto Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 11:03 am

Islam is growing more rapidly than any other religion in the world, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center that says the religion will nearly equal Christianity by 2050 before eclipsing it around 2070, if current trends continue.

"The main reason Muslims are growing not only in number but in share worldwide is because of where they live," Alan Cooperman, Pew's director of religion research, tells NPR's Tom Gjelten. "Muslim populations are concentrated in some of the fastest-growing parts of the world."

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Airbnb Starts Listing Homes In Cuba; Average Rate Is $43 A Night

A new section of the Airbnb home rental site shows places available for short-term stays in Havana.
Airbnb

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 11:53 am

Less than three months after the U.S. announced it will ease travel to Cuba, home rental site Airbnb is listing properties in the island nation. The average price for a room or home in Havana is currently $43. The company says it's starting out with more than 1,000 listings.

A look at the offerings Thursday morning found everything from "beautiful colonial rooms for rent in the heart of Havana" for $27 a night to a "a holiday sanctuary" chalet on the outskirts of Havana that can accommodate 10 guests for $1,000. It includes a pool.

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The Two-Way
7:44 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Yemen's Rebels Seize Presidential Palace In Aden, Despite Airstrikes

Houthi fighters gather in the Yemeni city of Aden on Thursday. The Shiite rebels and their allies seized the presidential palace in this southern coastal city.
Wael Qubady AP

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 4:32 pm

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

Yemen's Houthi fighters and their allies seized a central area of Aden, capturing the presidential palace on a hilltop of the southern port city. The Shiite rebels took the area despite an eight-day air campaign by a Saudi-led coalition to stem the Houthis' advance.

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The Two-Way
6:26 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Kenya Says Operation Against Al-Shabab Militants Is Over; 147 Dead

Students gather at a distance from the Garissa University College after an attack by gunmen in Garissa, Kenya, Thursday. The attack has injured dozens of people; a siege is ongoing.
AP

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 4:52 pm

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

Kenya's National Disaster Operation Center says the government's operation against al-Shabab militants on a university campus in Garissa is over. It says that 147 people were killed, along with four militants.

The center added that 587 students had been evacuated from the building; 79 people were injured. It said all students were accounted for. The school reportedly is attended by more than 800 students.

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The Two-Way
3:28 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Madison, Wis., Council Votes To Ban Discrimination Against Atheism

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 8:22 am

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

In what is believed to be a first in the United States, the Common Council of Madison, Wis., has voted to amend the city's equal opportunities ordinance "to add nonreligion as a protected class."

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The Two-Way
1:28 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

'Girl Drifter' Race Driver Freaks Out Instructors In Prank

Malaysian pro driver Leona Chin took several driving instructors for a spin for their first day on the job.
YouTube

"It's my brother's car." That's what Leona Chin told four instructors about her high-powered sports car. She then stalled the stick-shift car in first gear and randomly turned the wipers on — before unleashing the skills she has honed as a professional driver. Havoc, and some panic, ensued.

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Musician Joni Mitchell Is 'Awake And In Good Spirits' In Intensive Care

Musician Joni Mitchell attends a party before the Grammy Awards in February. Mitchell, 71, was found unconscious in her home Tuesday.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 11:04 am

After being found found unconscious in her home Tuesday afternoon, folk music icon Joni Mitchell has been hospitalized in Los Angeles. "She is currently in intensive care undergoing tests and is awake and in good spirits," according to her website.

Mitchell "regained consciousness on the ambulance ride," her website says.

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The Two-Way
8:28 am
Wed April 1, 2015

World's Oldest Person Dies At Age 117

Misao Okawa, who died at age 117, posed for a photo with her son Hiroshi Okawa, 92, (left) and other family members as they celebrated her birthday last month in Osaka, Japan.
Buddhika Weerasinghe Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 5:09 pm

She was born in 1898. And now comes word that Japan's Misao Okawa has died at age 117. She had been the world's oldest person since 2013, according to Guinness World Records.

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The Two-Way
7:43 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Iran Nuclear Talks: Kerry Will Remain In Switzerland For Another Day

Prolonged nuclear talks gave Russian journalists time to play a game of giant chess Wednesday in a courtyard of the Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Brendan Smialowski AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 3:13 pm

(This post was last updated at 3:12 p.m. ET.)

A day after the self-imposed deadline passed for reaching a framework agreement on Iran's nuclear program, negotiators are still working.

By evening in Switzerland, the State Department said Secretary of State John Kerry would remain in Lausanne until at least Thursday morning.

"We continue to make progress but have not reached a political understanding," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

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The Two-Way
7:16 am
Wed April 1, 2015

CEOs Of Germanwings, Lufthansa Visit Crash Site

Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann (left) and Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr visited the site of the Germanwings jet crash in Le Vernet, France, on Wednesday.
Claude Paris AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 12:08 pm

Top executives of Lufthansa and Germanwings airlines visited the site of last week's plane crash that killed 150 people. Speaking with reporters, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr did not respond to questions about the co-pilot's medical history.

Spohr said that while his airline is learning more about the crash, "it will take a long time for all of us to understand" how the tragedy occurred.

From Berlin, Esme Nicholson filed this report for our Newscast desk:

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Tue March 31, 2015

U.S. Promises To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions Up To 28 Percent By 2025

President Obama, seen here inspecting solar panels on the roof of the Department of Energy, has submitted a U.S. pledge to reduce greenhouse gases.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 7:57 pm

The Obama administration is pledging that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels over the next 10 years. The new target was submitted today to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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The Two-Way
9:06 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Iran Nuclear Talks Deadline Will Be Extended By A Day, U.S. Says

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 8:13 pm

This post was last updated at 7:54 p.m. ET

The U.S. says enough progress has been made in talks with Iran on its nuclear program to warrant an extension of Tuesday's 6 p.m. ET deadline by a day.

"We've made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday," spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. "There are several difficult issues still remaining."

She said Secretary of State John Kerry, who was scheduled to leave the talks Tuesday, will remain until Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Indiana Governor Stands By 'Religious Freedom' Law But Promises Fix

Demonstrators gather outside the City County Building in Indianapolis on Monday, calling for the state House to roll back the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say can be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians.
Aaron P. Bernstein Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 10:11 am

A new Indiana law that has set off a firestorm of criticism and threats of boycotts should be repealed or revised, says Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, whose city is hosting the NCAA men's basketball tournament's Final Four this weekend.

Around midday Tuesday, Gov. Mike Pence said the controversial legislation will be clarified instead of being annulled. He added, "We'll fix this and we'll move forward."

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