Bill Chappell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Two-Way
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

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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
12:48 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 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

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The Two-Way
10:47 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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The Two-Way
3:58 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

The Other 'F Word': Brewer Responds To Starbucks Over Beer Name

After being told that one of his products infringed on a Starbucks trademark, brewpub owner Jeff Britton wrote the coffee company a check.
Exit 6 Brewery

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 5:51 pm

In general, getting a cease-and-desist letter from a big corporation isn't the mark of a good day. But after a brewery owner got a letter from a law firm representing Starbucks, he saw a chance to draw distinctions between the businesses — and to be funny.

The coffee company's bone of contention, Missouri brewer Jeff Britton was told in a Dec. 9 letter, was the use of the name "Frappicino" to describe a stout served at Exit 6 Brewery, a brewpub in a tidy strip mall in Cottleville, northwest of St. Louis.

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Report Details NSA's Alleged High-Tech Tricks For Snaring Data

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 1:52 pm

Intercepted packages. Custom-made cables that steal data. Towers that mimic a commercial cellphone network. Those are a few of the tricks used by elite units of the National Security Agency to monitor potential threats, according to Germany's Der Spiegel. The magazine published those revelations Sunday and Monday, detailing what it calls a catalog of the NSA's high-tech spying products and methods.

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The Two-Way
4:49 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

House Approves Budget Deal; Compromise Heads To Senate

House Speaker John Boehner leaves a news conference Thursday, after criticizing conservative groups that he said held too much sway in Republican politics, "pushing our members in places where they don't want to be."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:05 am

The House has approved a bipartisan budget deal to cut around $23 billion from the federal deficit over 10 years while removing the threat of a possible government shutdown until 2015. A shutdown deadline had loomed for Jan. 15.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 also sets spending levels for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, which its backers say will add more stability to both the U.S. economy and the government's operations.

Update at 6:35 p.m. ET: The Vote Tally

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Rule Allowing In-Flight Phone Calls Clears First FCC Hurdle

A passenger checks his cellphone while boarding a flight in Boston. The Federal Communications Commission is proposing new rules to allow using cellphones for data and voice calls during airline flights.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:04 pm

Update at 4 p.m. ET: Commissioners Approve Rules Proposal

By a vote of 3-2, the FCC has approved the initial proposal to allow passengers on U.S. flights to use their cellphones for voice calls — something that's been forbidden on U.S. flights. The vote opens the door for further consideration by the commission's five members, as well as comments from the public.

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

The Things We Did And Said In 2013, According To Facebook

What the world was talking about on Facebook in 2013. The social media site released a review of the most popular topics, events, and places Wednesday.
Facebook

Did you travel in 2013? Perhaps you went to Disneyland. Or maybe you met someone special or watched the Super Bowl. Those moments of commonality are being highlighted by Facebook, which today released its list of the year's most popular topics, events and places.

After we spent a few moments reviewing the most common life events people reported in 2013, the list reads a bit like a 10-sentence short story — perhaps a fable or a coming-of-age tale.

See what you think: Here are the events Facebook says "people added to their Timeline most frequently in 2013."

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Sebelius Calls For Review Of HHS Practices That Led To Debacle

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Earlier today, Sebelius announced an inquiry into the agency's launch of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov site.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:14 pm

"The launch of HealthCare.gov was flawed and simply unacceptable."

Those are the words of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, published Wednesday just before she met with people who share those views: members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

With her agency under fire since the website's failed release last month, Sebelius announced an internal inquiry and other steps that will focus on improving the contracting process, project management and employee training.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Snow Follows On Heels Of Ice Storm In The East

A person walks on a deserted walkway on a snowy morning in New York City on Tuesday. People who live along the East Coast and the Appalachians woke up to snow Tuesday, forcing school closings and closed roads.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 4:53 pm

(This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET)

A fast-moving winter storm swept through the Eastern U.S. on Tuesday, bringing several inches of snow to the region, causing flights to be canceled, traffic to be snarled and federal government offices in Washington, D.C., to be shut for the day.

Northern Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and southern New England got up to 6 inches of snow, and the nation's midsection experienced frigid temperatures.

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The Two-Way
8:02 am
Tue December 10, 2013

GM Says Its First Female CEO Will Take Over Next Month

General Motors executive Mary Barra, seen here in January, will become the automaker's first female CEO. She will replace Dan Akerson, 65, who is retiring.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:18 pm

Mary Barra will become the new leader of General Motors in January, the company announced Tuesday. A longtime GM veteran, Barra is currently an executive vice president; her tenure as CEO will begin after current leader Dan Akerson retires on Jan. 15.

Barra, 51, works in the company's global product development unit. She will soon become the first woman to lead a major automaker, as The Detroit Free Press reports.

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The Two-Way
7:28 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Brazilian Leader's 1976 Death Found To Be A Military Murder

A military plot has been blamed in the death of Brazil's former President Juscelino Kubitschek, seen here at the White House in 1961 speaking with President John F. Kennedy. For years, Kubitschek's death was blamed on a car accident.
William Allen AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:00 pm

For years, a car accident has been blamed in the 1976 death of former Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek. But a new inquiry has found the politician was murdered by the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil for 21 years.

"We have no doubt that Juscelino Kubitschek was the victim of a conspiracy, a plot and a political attack," Sao Paulo Truth Commission leader Gilberto Natalini says, according to Agence France-Presse.

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Tue December 10, 2013

With Many Police On Strike, Looters Hit Argentina's Stores

Supermarket employees try to recover items left by looters in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, on Monday. Looting has spread across Argentina as mobs take advantage of strikes by police demanding pay raises to match inflation.
Bruno Cerimele AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 11:52 am

Chaos is visiting the Christmas season in Argentina, as police in many regions have refused to work until they get a pay raise. The lack of law enforcement has spurred looting in which at least five people have died and hundreds more have been injured. Some shop owners have taken up arms to defend themselves.

In Chaco province, the casualties include police deputy superintendent Cristián Vera, who died after being shot by looters in a supermarket, reports Data Chaco.

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The Two-Way
5:21 am
Tue December 10, 2013

French Court Sentences Executive For Selling Faulty Breast Implants

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:16 pm

A French court has sentenced the head of a company that sold tens of thousands of defective breast implants to four years in prison for aggravated fraud. Poly Implant Prothese was once among the world's leaders in supplying implants. But its product was found to have a high rupture rate.

From Paris, NPR's Eleanor Beardsely reports:

"The Marseilles court convicted Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of the company, and three colleagues.

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The Two-Way
10:14 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Baseball's Torre, La Russa, Cox Add Another Title: Hall Of Famer

Hall Of Fame Managers: The Atlanta Braves' Bobby Cox (from left), the St. Louis Cardinals' Tony La Russa, and the New York Yankees' Joe Torre.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 12:27 pm

Their paths repeatedly crossed on the way to the World Series. And now retired managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox are headed to the same place: the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall's Expansion Era committee announced its selection Monday.

Together, the trio won eight World Series titles and led teams that were perennial threats to play in October. They account for a combined 7,558 victories.

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