David Schaper

David Schaper is a NPR National Desk reporter based in Chicago.

In this role, he covers news in Chicago and around the Midwest. Additionally he reports on a broad range of important social, cultural, political, and business issues in the region.

The range of Schaper's reporting has included profiles of service members killed in Iraq, and members of a reserve unit returning home to Wisconsin. He produced reports on the important political issues in key Midwest battleground states, education issues related to "No Child Left Behind," the bankruptcy of United Airlines as well as other aviation and transportation issues, and the devastation left by tornadoes, storms, blizzards, and floods in the Midwest.

Prior to joining NPR, Schaper spent nine years working as an award-winning reporter and editor for Chicago Public Radio's WBEZ-FM. For three years he covered education issues, reporting in-depth on the problems, financial and otherwise, plaguing Chicago's public schools.

In 1996, Schaper was named assistant news editor, managing the station's daily news coverage and editing a staff of six. He continued general assignment reporting, covering breaking news, politics, transportation, housing, sports, and business.

When he left WBEZ, Schaper was the station's political reporter, editor, and a frequent fill-in news anchor and program host. Additionally, he served as a frequent guest panelist on public television's Chicago Tonight and Chicago Week in Review.

Since beginning his career at Wisconsin Public Radio's WLSU-FM, Schaper worked in Chicago as a writer and editor for WBBM-AM and as a reporter and anchor for WXRT-FM. He worked at commercial stations WMAY-AM in Springfield, IL; and WIZM-AM and FM in La Crosse, WI; and at public stations WSSU-FM (now WUIS) and WDCB-FM in in Illinois.

Schaper earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and an Master of Arts from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

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Around the Nation
4:18 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Checking In On Chicago Schools' 'Safe Passage' Program

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama was in Chicago today, promoting what he calls ladders of opportunity to the middle class. It's the latest stop of his post-State of the Union tour, fleshing out the proposals from Tuesday night's speech. At a high school near his southside Chicago home, the president said reducing urban gun violence is essential to economic development.

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Around the Nation
6:29 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Milwaukee Sheriff Advises Residents To Arm Themselves

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 4:35 pm

A top law enforcement official in Wisconsin is urging people to arm themselves for their own protection.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is airing a new public service announcement telling residents that because of budget cuts, calling 911 for help is no longer their best option.

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Around the Nation
4:41 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Chicago Looks To Community Policing To Reduce Violent Crime

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:37 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
6:13 pm
Sat December 22, 2012

Near-Replica Of Sandy Hook Made Nearby For Students

A school bus drives past a welcome sign near the Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe, Conn. Students from Sandy Hook Elementary in neighboring Newtown will attend the school in January.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat December 22, 2012 7:54 pm

The surviving students of Sandy Hook Elementary will not be returning to their school in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six educators were shot to death on Dec. 14.

Instead, when classes resume after the holidays, they'll attend a school in the neighboring town of Monroe. Parents, teachers and administrators in both towns are working to make the new school as similar as possible to the one Sandy Hook students left behind.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
4:41 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Trauma Can Stay With First Responders Long After Events Pass

"We're holding up the best that we can" after Friday's shootings, says Sandy Hook volunteer firefighter Anthony "Chip" Carpenter.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 8:33 pm

The police officers, firefighters and emergency medical teams who rushed to Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday are trying to cope with what they saw there, even as they work to investigate the awful crime that transpired and help their community cope with its aftermath.

The first responders are also struggling with the fact that they weren't able to save anyone, as they had been trained to do.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:33 am
Wed December 12, 2012

N.J. Spars Over Free Beach Access Post-Sandy

Superstorm Sandy caused massive beach erosion and damage to the Jersey shore. Some people say the beach restoration work, which will largely be paid for with federal tax dollars, will mostly help to protect expensive homes for the wealthy — people who have free access to the beach — while most communities would still be charging fees for public access.
Doug Mills AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:58 am

At an oceanfront park in Long Branch, N.J., Tim Dillingham looks out over the beach in awe of how much the pounding waves and high waters of Hurricane Sandy have changed the Jersey shore.

Dillingham is the executive director of the American Littoral Society, a coastal conservation group. Before the storm, he says, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent years building up the beaches by pumping sand onto them.

But that shouldn't be a solution to restoring the shore, he says.

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Around the Nation
5:12 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Post Sandy: Atlantic City Wants Its Tourists Back

Atlantic City's boardwalk, with its shops, restaurants, casinos and hotels, was mostly protected during Hurricane Sandy by a dune restoration project. But TV images of one small section that was damaged gave the impression that the whole thing was destroyed.
David Schaper/NPR

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:24 pm

A month after Hurricane Sandy pounded the New Jersey Shore, Atlantic City is back in business. Even though most of the casinos and restaurants sustained very little damage in the storm, they're now suffering from a lack of visitors. But the city has launched an effort to change that.

As three young boys roll their skateboards down the "World Famous Atlantic City Boardwalk," it's proof that it is still here, fully in tact, and that rumors of its demise were greatly exaggerated.

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Politics
4:45 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Special Election To Fill Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Seat

Just 15 days after voters re-elected him, Jesse Jackson Jr. said health problems were keeping him from doing his job. He also acknowledged he is under federal investigation. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has to set a date for a special election by Monday, and the vote must be held within 115 days.

U.S.
3:32 am
Tue November 13, 2012

In Chicago, Violence Soars And Witnesses Go Silent

Paramedics treat multiple gunshot victims in Chicago in August.
Devlin Brown, Chicago Tribune MCT/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 8:22 pm

It's an old problem and an old code — "don't snitch." And it exists everywhere.

But in Chicago, where homicides and shootings are up significantly this year, that old code is leaving a rising number of violent crimes unsolved. Chicago Police Department statistics show arrests are being made in about 30 percent of shooting homicides, while close to 80 percent of nonfatal shootings are going unsolved.

When police can't find and arrest the perpetrators, they worry that the shooters will soon shoot again.

Witness Protection

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House & Senate Races
5:43 am
Sun November 11, 2012

Senate Win In Wis. A 'Turning Point' For Gay Rights

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin greets supporters at a campaign rally for President Obama on Nov. 3 in Milwaukee. Baldwin became the first openly gay candidate to win a U.S. Senate seat.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 2:05 pm

Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin's sexual orientation was never really a factor in her victorious campaign against Republican former Gov. Tommy Thompson. Advocates for gay rights see that as a watershed moment for the movement.

Baldwin won a seat many thought she couldn't, defeating one of the state's most successful politicians in the process. The celebration Tuesday night in Madison was euphoric.

The enthusiastic crowd was never louder than when Baldwin acknowledged making history.

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Election 2012
5:50 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Wis. Elects First Openly Gay Person To U.S. Senate

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 10:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

In Wisconsin, Democrats won big just five months after a stinging defeat in their effort to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker. President Obama won the state, even though Mitt Romney chose Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. Plus Wisconsin voters elected Democrat Tammy Baldwin to be the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate.

From Madison, NPR's David Schaper reports.

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It's All Politics
5:43 am
Sun October 28, 2012

Democrats See Opportunity In Fiery Illinois House Race

Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh and challenger Democrat Tammy Duckworth before a televised debate at the WTTW studios on Oct. 18, 2012, in Chicago.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 3:06 am

One of the most bitter congressional races is in the suburbs of Chicago, where controversial freshman Republican Joe Walsh is fighting to keep a seat he was actually drawn out of.

The Tea Party favorite's bombastic rants frequently get him into trouble, even with members of his own party, and Walsh is facing a tough Democratic opponent in Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in combat.

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Around the Nation
5:24 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Divided Wis. Voters Unite In Debate Viewing

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:09 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Last night's second presidential debate produced more friction and fireworks than the first, and that didn't seem to bother a group of voters in a state that knows a lot about political bickering, Wisconsin. NPR's David Schaper watched the debate with roughly a dozen Democrats and Republicans who have dedicated themselves to bridging their state's political divide.

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All Tech Considered
7:15 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Baseball Autographs Get A Digital Upgrade

Sarah Wagner shows off an Egraph of Kerry Wood, her favorite Cubs player.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:39 am

On her 22nd birthday this summer, Sarah Wagner of suburban Wheaton, Ill., who describes herself as a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, opened an email to find an incredible surprise — a recorded message from her favorite Cubs player:

"Hey, Sarah! Kerry Wood here! Thanks for your message and I hope you're having a great summer!"

"When I heard for the first time, I instantly smiled," says Wagner. "I think my hands probably went over like my mouth, like, 'Oh my gosh, Kerry Wood is talking to me, even though he has no idea who I am!' "

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NPR Story
4:49 am
Fri September 28, 2012

With Senate Control At Stake, Key Wis. Race Tightens

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson in Madison, Wis., ahead of the Aug. 14 Republican primary for Wisconsin's open Senate seat. He was one of four candidates.
Andy Manis AP

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 11:39 am

One of the most important seats in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate is in Wisconsin, where Democrat Herb Kohl is retiring. Early polls showed popular former Gov. Tommy Thompson might easily flip the seat to the GOP, but he's now trailing Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin. It's a race that's going down to the wire in this almost evenly divided state.

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Politics
4:48 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

NFL Ref Lockout Brings Union Fights Back To Wis.

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now to Wisconsin, where people are still livid. It's been two days since a blown call by the NFL's replacement referees cost the Green Bay Packers a win against the Seattle Seahawks. Wisconsinites of opposing political persuasions were briefly united in their anger. But in a state with a Republican governor best known for attacking unions, even the issue of replacement refs is becoming a political football.

Here's NPR's David Schaper.

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Election 2012
4:53 am
Mon September 24, 2012

'60 Minutes' Airs Obama, Romney Interviews

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 9:08 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. So, all those political ads are on the air. Last night, the candidates themselves were on the air. They did interviews on the same CBS program, "60 Minutes." NPR's David Schaper was watching.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: After a week in which his campaign was on the defensive, Romney told "60 Minutes" he remains confident.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "60 MINUTES")

MITT ROMNEY: I'm going to win this thing.

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Law
5:01 am
Mon September 17, 2012

'Bernie Madoff Of The Midwest' To Plead Guilty

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 9:52 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Another massive financial fraud case is going to federal court on this Monday. In Iowa, the founder and CEO of Peregrine Financial Group, or PFG, is expected to plead guilty to charges that he swindled customers out of at least $100 million. NPR's David Schaper reports.

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Around the Nation
4:52 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Drought's Effects Keep Expanding

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 5:23 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This summer's drought is not helping the wildfire situation, and the drought is also deeply harming the nation's agricultural economy. Parched lands extend from California to Indiana, and from Texas to South Dakota, impacting everyone from farmers and ranchers to barge operators and commodity traders.

As NPR's David Schaper reports, some farmers are getting close to calling it quits.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Looking over his small, 100-acre farm near South Union, Kentucky, Rich Vernon doesn't like what he sees.

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Around the Nation
5:51 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Soaked In Drought: Lessons From The Dust Bowl

Scorched pastures are spreading across central Illinois and the rest of the Midwest. Technology and techniques developed from previous droughts like the Dust Bowl are helping to save some of today's crops, but there's no substitute for water.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am

This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.

"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.

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Around the Nation
7:55 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Secrecy Surrounds Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Illness

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Now to a political mystery in Chicago. Constituents and colleagues are demanding to know more about the whereabouts and condition of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior. Jackson took a leave of absence a month ago, but his office has been vague about why. And that lack of information about Jackson is the talk of the town. From Chicago, NPR's David Schaper reports.

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Business
4:33 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

As Strikes Wane, Caterpillar Workers Hold The Line

Striking workers picket outside a Caterpillar plant in Joliet, Ill. The work stoppage is now entering its third month.
Joseph P. Meier Sun-Times Media Photo

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 6:35 pm

Whenever a car or truck turns off busy Channahon Road onto the long drive to the Caterpillar plant in Joliet, Ill., a handful of union workers on a picket line scream, "Scab! Scab!!"

As strikers try shaming the few workers and managers who cross the line, even a clearly marked sandwich delivery car gets shouted down.

Approximately 800 workers at this plant, which makes hydraulic systems for Caterpillar's heavy construction and mining equipment, are about to enter their third month on strike.

Negotiations Fail

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Politics
7:46 am
Sat June 9, 2012

Conservative Confab Rallies Behind Wisconsin Victory

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 10:58 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. It seems that every week, there's a new study out on political polarization in America. More and more, we talk to, vote with, and get our news from only those who think the way that we do. So, this week we sent reporters on a couple of polar expeditions to political gatherings on the left and the right. And in a moment, we'll hear from NPR's Scott Horsley at Netroots Nation in Rhode Island. First, now here's NPR's David Schaper at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Chicago.

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Election 2012
5:45 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Walker Moves Forward As The Right's Newest 'Hero'

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (center) is greeted by his Cabinet and staff Wednesday at the state Capitol in Madison, a day after defeating Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a recall election.
Andy Manis AP

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 7:29 pm

Republican Gov. Scott Walker triumphantly returned to the Wisconsin Capitol Wednesday, fresh off of his decisive victory in Tuesday's bitter recall election.

The governor appears to be emerging from the tough recall fight stronger, and with his national profile rising.

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Politics
5:29 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Gubernatorial Recall Election Polarizes Wis. Voters

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 9:04 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's been more than a year since Wisconsin Democrats began talking about recalling the state's governor, Scott Walker. Next week they'll get their chance to do it. Last night, Walker and his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, traded barbs in their final debate before Tuesday's vote. Turnout is expected to be very high, as the recall is sharply dividing voters in Wisconsin, so much so, some have just stopped talking to each other. NPR's David Schaper has the latest from Milwaukee.

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Law
6:16 am
Sat May 26, 2012

Chicago Outsider Busted Crime With Apolitical Flare

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald speaks to reporters during a news conference Thursday in Chicago. Fitzgerald announced he would step down.
Brian Kersey Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 2:16 pm

Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor who went after the Gambino crime family, al-Qaida and even the White House in court — not to mention several Illinois politicians — is leaving his job as U.S. attorney in Chicago.

The career prosecutor, known as "Eliot Ness with a Harvard degree," will leave a legacy as a tenacious corruption buster, though some criticize his style as overzealous.

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Law
4:54 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

U.S. Attorney Who Tried Blagojevich Stepping Down

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 7:22 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

One of the most successful federal prosecutors in the country is stepping down. Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, says he will leave office at the end of June. Over the last several years, Fitzgerald won the convictions of two Illinois governors on corruption charges and of former Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, in the CIA leak case.

From Chicago, NPR's David Schaper reports on the legacy of Chicago's longest-serving U.S. attorney.

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Health Care
4:22 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Nurses Group Among Protestors At NATO Summit

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 6:34 pm

What's being called the first official protest of NATO kicked off Friday in downtown Chicago, where an estimated 1,000 nurses are expected to gather. They're calling for a "Robin Hood Tax" whereby Wall Street earnings are taxed to help relieve inadequacies in healthcare.

Around the Nation
4:48 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Chicago Police Plan To Keep Their Cool During NATO Summit Protests

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 4:49 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

More than 50 world leaders come to Chicago this weekend for a summit meeting of NATO, the North Atlantic Alliance. They will discuss, among other things, how to end the war in Afghanistan. They will talk in a city where anti-war protestors famously clashed with police outside the 1968 Democratic convention. In 2012, anti-war activists are making preparations. NPR's David Schaper reports.

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Around the Nation
12:22 am
Sun May 13, 2012

Lack Of Support Puts The Brakes On High-Speed Rail

California's Legislative Analyst's Office said the latest proposal to build a $68.4 billion high-speed train system is still too vague and the state legislature should not approve funding it for it this year.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Sun May 13, 2012 12:09 pm

Three years ago, President Obama was rolling out an ambitious vision for high-speed rail in America. "Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 mph," the president said at the time.

Today, there are a few Amtrak trains going that fast, but for the most part, the president's plans for high-speed trains have slowed considerably.

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