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
3:34 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

NASA's 'Flying Saucer' Test For Advanced Parachute Appears To Fail

An image from NASA shows its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator after launch Monday.
NASA

Originally published on Tue June 9, 2015 7:35 am

It's a big day for NASA: The agency's new "flying saucer" is getting a crucial test, part of a plan to land on Mars someday. A giant balloon is carrying the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator to an altitude of 120,000 feet. Then it'll go even higher — and engineers hope its parachute guides it safely to Earth's surface.

You can watch NASA TV online to follow events live. "Drop time" — when the saucer's rocket will be ignited — is slated for 5:35 p.m. ET.

Update 6:02 p.m. ET:

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Texas Pool Party Update: Teens And Residents Speak Out

A video of a police officer forcing a teenager to the ground and also drawing his weapon has brought criticism about police response to a pool party in McKinney, Texas.
YouTube

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 3:44 pm

Days after a dramatic video surfaced of a Texas police officer pulling a gun and screaming at young people at a community pool, the teenage girl he forced to the ground has spoken out. So have local residents who back the police.

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Spain's Air Traffic Controllers Go On Strike; Pay Isn't The Big Complaint

Two Spanish Iberia airplanes stand on the tarmac at the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas airport in Madrid on Monday. Spanish air traffic controllers started a four-day partial strike that could affect some 5,300 flights.
J.J. Guillen EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 8:26 pm

Despite being among the best-paid public workers in Spain, the country's air traffic controllers started a strike Monday. Their union is protesting the punishment of dozens of controllers who were involved in a 2010 strike that sparked a national state of alarm.

"Some 5,300 flights to and from Spain are expected to be affected," NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid. "This is the first of four days of work stoppage by Spain's air traffic controllers."

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The Two-Way
5:29 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Irish Soccer Details $7 Million FIFA Payment Over Handball

Robbie Keane scored in Ireland's controversial World Cup qualifying match with France on Nov. 18, 2009 — but the country was eliminated by the aggregate score of 2-1. Ireland's soccer association says FIFA paid 5 million euros — $7 million at 2010 exchange rates — over a blatant breaking of the rules by France.
Michael Steele Getty Images

A day after news emerged that soccer's world body paid Ireland not to protest a blatant handball by France's Thierry Henry in 2009, the Football Association of Ireland is releasing more details about the arrangement — including a copy of a signed deal.

FIFA paid the FAI more than 5 million euros — equal to around $7 million at the time of the transaction in January 2010 — so that the Irish would quit their plans for a legal appeal.

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The Two-Way
3:48 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Man Changes Name To 'Adam West' To Avoid Paying $336 Airline Fee

Adam Armstrong was using the name Adam West on Facebook — and now, it's his legal name. The 19-year-old chose to get a new passport rather than pay more than $330 in fees.
Facebook

It started with a joke: On Facebook, Adam Armstrong listed his name as Adam West, the actor who played Batman in the 1960s. But then his girlfriend's stepfather bought him a plane ticket with the West name on it — and the airline wanted $336 to change it.

Adam, who lives in Manchester, England, is 19 — and he really wanted to go on this trip to the resort island of Ibiza. So he simply became Adam West. It was cheaper to change his name and get a new passport than to pay airline Ryanair's fees.

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The Two-Way
11:16 am
Thu June 4, 2015

Indicted Former FIFA Official Warner Says He Won't Protect Secrets

Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner discussed records he has amassed about financial dealings in the embattled organization Wednesday.
Andrea De Silva Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 4, 2015 11:37 am

In a televised address titled "The Gloves Are Off," former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner says he told his lawyers to contact law enforcement, and that he has proof FIFA and its leader, Sepp Blatter, influenced Trinidad and Tobago's election in 2010.

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The Two-Way
7:46 am
Thu June 4, 2015

Pluto's Moons Are 'Tumbling In Absolute Chaos,' NASA Says

Computer modeling illustrations of Pluto's moon Nix demonstrate that its orientation changes unpredictably as it orbits the "double planet" of Pluto and Charon.
M. Showalter (SETI)/G. Bacon (STScI) NASA/ESA

Originally published on Thu June 4, 2015 9:19 am

In the NFL, something that behaves like Pluto's football-shaped moons might be called a wobbly duck. NASA simply calls them astonishing.

Instead of steadily rotating through their orbits, two of Pluto's moons "wobble unpredictably," the space agency says, citing new analysis of data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Thu June 4, 2015

Chinese Cruise Ship Death Toll Rises To 75

A relative of passengers on board the Eastern Star cruise ship is comforted by a man along the Yangtze River's banks in Jianli, China. Relatives of people missing after the cruise ship capsized have gathered at the disaster site.
AFP/Getty Images

There are still only 14 survivors of Monday's cruise ship disaster in China's Yangtze River. Rescue teams have now cut holes through parts of the overturned ship's hull, but they've found no more survivors from the ship that carried more than 450 people.

Cutting into the Eastern Star's hull is part of a desperate effort to find people who might have lived through the capsizing — which officials believe may have trapped air pockets in the ship's interior. But the move also brings risk, as it could release air that's been providing the ship with buoyancy.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Police Officer Should Have Refused $2.7M Bequest, Review Panel Says

Sgt. Aaron Goodwin, of the Portsmouth, N.H. Police Dept., seen here being questioned in May, should have refused a gift from an elderly woman he met while on the job, a review panel says.
Rich Beauchesne AP

Originally published on Fri June 5, 2015 1:57 pm

A New Hampshire police sergeant broke departmental rules by not refusing an elderly woman's offer to leave him her riverfront house, a review panel says. Sgt. Aaron Goodwin received $2.7 million in property and stocks in an estate case that's still being disputed.

The case has set off debates in Portsmouth, N.H., over police policies covering gifts — and over the motivations of Goodwin, who reportedly first met Geraldine Webber in 2010, when he was investigating a potential crime in the area. He became a regular visitor, both on- and off-duty.

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The Two-Way
8:52 am
Wed June 3, 2015

FIFA Updates: Interpol Targets Officials, And South Africa Denies Bribing

Interpol issued alerts for six people who have been indicted by the U.S. in an inquiry into corruption in FIFA's dealings.
Interpol

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 10:00 am

One day after FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced his resignation, Interpol has issued "red notices" for two former senior FIFA officials and several executives who were indicted on U.S. criminal charges. And South Africa has denied that it issued millions in bribes related to the 2010 World Cup.

Blatter will remain FIFA's leader for months; the organization says a new election could be held "anytime from December of this year to March of next year."

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Death Toll Up To 65 In China Boat Disaster; Government Orders Censorship

Relatives await word of survivors from a cruise ship that capsized in the Yangtze River. The Eastern Star was carrying more than 450 people; only 14 have been rescued.
China Stringer Network Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 4, 2015 1:24 am

Update, 12:50 p.m. ET:

As expected, the death toll from the capsizing of a cruise ship on China's Yangtze River began rising dramatically late Wednesday, as Reuters reported that the number of bodies recovered had jumped to 65.

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The Two-Way
4:55 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

Senate Approves USA Freedom Act, Obama Signs It, After Amendments Fail

Kentucky Sen. and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul has said the USA Freedom Act doesn't go far enough in reforming U.S. surveillance programs.
Andrew Harnik AP

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 9:48 pm

The Senate has approved the USA Freedom Act, which will alter the way U.S. agencies conduct surveillance and gather data. A final vote on the bill came late Tuesday afternoon, after amendments to the bill failed.

Update at 9:30 p.m. ET: Obama's Signature

Following an expedited enrollment process, President Obama signed the bill into law late Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
2:33 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

Video: Edward Snowden Takes Questions From London Audience

Former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden appears via live video link.
Amnesty International YouTube

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 4:09 pm

Nearly two years after his information about America's spying programs caused an international uproar, former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden spoke to an audience in London on Tuesday via live video feed.

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The Two-Way
11:55 am
Tue June 2, 2015

Harlem Hellfighter And Jewish Soldier Get Long-Overdue Medals Of Honor

(Left) Sgt. William Shemin distinguished himself with bravery under fire during World War I. (Right) Sgt. Henry Johnson of the 369th Infantry Regiment was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for bravery while outnumbered during a battle with German soldiers, Feb. 12, 1919.
Shemin Family Photo U.S. Army

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 4:59 pm

Nearly 100 years after their heroic deeds, two World War I U.S. Army soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor, America's highest military honor, on Tuesday. Historians say Sgts. William Shemin and Henry Johnson hadn't been properly recognized for their bravery under fire.

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The Two-Way
4:00 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

Cattle Drive Saves Hundreds Of Cows Stranded By Texas Flooding

A herd of Texas cattle is safe Monday, thanks to the work of cowboys and volunteers who worked to move some 500 cows and calves from an "island" of land that was being shrunk by the rising Trinity River.

The rescue meant that what could have been a scene "from an 1800s-era Texas cattle drive actually took place," says the Sheriff's Office in Liberty County, northeast of Houston. The cattle had been stranded on about 40 acres of land that was losing ground to floodwaters.

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The Two-Way
11:04 am
Mon June 1, 2015

Supreme Court Tosses Out Man's Conviction For Making Threats On Facebook

The case of Anthony Elonis, who was convicted in 2010 of making violent threats on Facebook, was argued at the Supreme Court in December. Here, an advocate for victims' rights speaks with reporters about the case.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 3:25 pm

The Supreme Court has reversed the conviction of a Pennsylvania man who said violent messages he posted on Facebook were therapeutic, not true threats. Anthony Elonis was arrested by the FBI, which had been monitoring his posts.

At issue is the standard by which a lower court viewed rap lyrics and messages from Elonis, who often posted graphically violent language along with disclaimers that he was merely asserting his First Amendment rights.

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The Two-Way
10:10 am
Mon June 1, 2015

Woman Turns 100 Without Any Family, But With Thousands Of Good Wishes

Before her surprise birthday party, Winnie Blagden said, "I'm not expecting anything marvelous, no."
BBC Radio Sheffield

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 12:54 pm

Sunday was Winnie Blagden's birthday — and it was, despite her expectations, a big deal. When word got out that the English woman was about to turn 100 and had no living relatives, thousands of people sent cards and gifts.

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The Two-Way
4:54 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Obama Signs Texas Disaster Declaration As Death Toll In Flooding Rises

Tex Toler watches the Llano River rise Friday in Llano, Texas, after another round of heavy rains that have brought flooding and deaths to the state.
Jay Janner TNS /Landov

Originally published on Sat May 30, 2015 1:20 am

The number of people who died because of storms that have inundated parts of Texas and Oklahoma this week has hit 25 people, after search crews found a drowned truck driver whose vehicle had overturned in a culvert near Dallas.

That's the word from member station KERA, where Lauren Silverman reports that a new batch of storms that hit Dallas-Fort Worth "dumped three to seven inches of rain on an already over-saturated area" Thursday night.

All that water created treacherous conditions for Friday morning's commute; widespread and serious delays were reported.

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The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Idaho's Abortion Ban Is Unconstitutional, Federal Court Says

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 1:44 pm

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says Idaho's law prohibiting abortions after 20 or more weeks of pregnancy is "unconstitutional because it categorically bans some abortions before viability."

The court ruled in favor of Jennie McCormack and Dr. Richard Hearn (on behalf of himself and his patients), who had challenged Idaho's Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that restricts abortion in the state.

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The Two-Way
11:54 am
Fri May 29, 2015

At FIFA Meeting, Israeli And Palestinian Delegates Shake Hands

Palestinian Jibril Rajoub (left) and Israeli Ofer Eini shook hands Friday after FIFA's member groups adopted a plan to work out problems between their soccer associations.
FIFA TV/YouTube

Confusion and emotion broke out at Friday's FIFA Congress — and it wasn't over embattled leader Sepp Blatter. The leaders of the Israeli and Palestinian soccer organizations shook hands.

The much-discussed "handshake for peace" happened after the Palestinian Football Association withdrew its proposal that FIFA suspend Israel from international competition.

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