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
3:31 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Robot Swarm: A Flock Of Drones That Fly Autonomously

An image from a video by the COLLMOT Robotic Research Project shows a group of drones flying autonomously across a field.
COLLMOT Robotic Research Project

Can drones, the small unmanned aircraft that are at the forefront of fields from warfare to commercial delivery systems, fly without human intervention? A team of Hungarian researchers answers yes, having created 10 drones that self-organize as they move through the air.

The team based its creation on birds such as pigeons, which fly in tight bunches while making adjustments and decisions. They fitted quadcopters — drones with four rotors — with GPS, processors and radios that allow them to navigate in formation or while following a leader.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Federal Judge Voids Texas Gay Marriage Ban

Couples Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss speak with reporters outside the U.S. Federal Courthouse in San Antonio earlier this month. The judge in their case ruled Texas' ban on gay marriage unconstitutional Wednesday.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 4:01 am

Saying that a Texas law barring same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and demeans the dignity of homosexuals, a federal judge struck down the law Wednesday. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia doesn't mean gay marriages can be held in Texas, however; he placed a stay on the decision, anticipating an appeal by the state.

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The Two-Way
12:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

'Planet Bonanza' Indeed: NASA Unveils 715 New Worlds

This artist rendering provided by NASA, shows Kepler-11, a sunlike star around which six planets orbit.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 1:47 pm

The job of NASA's Kepler mission is to peek at the far reaches of space in the hopes of finding potentially habitable planets. The space agency announced a stunning success, saying that Kepler had identified 715 new planets that orbit 305 stars. The discovery boosts the number of verified planets by around 70 percent.

"Four of the planets are about twice the size of Earth and orbit in their star's so-called habitable zone," NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports for our Newscast unit, "where temperatures might be suitable for liquid water."

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Ukraine Zeroes In On Leader For Interim Government

With Ukraine in a political limbo following the flight of its president Saturday, the name of Arseniy Yatsenyuk is being put forth as the country's next leader until new elections are held in May. Yatsenyuk is a member of the Batkyvshchina party, whose leaders include former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

On Wednesday, a web page dedicated to Yatsenyuk announced, "Began collecting signatures under the agreement on forming a coalition. The government will be voted on Thursday," according to a web-based translation service.

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The Two-Way
3:02 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

California's Drought: A Shocking Photo And Other Updates

Images of Folsom Lake, a reservoir in Northern California, show the severity of the state's drought. The photo at left, taken on July 20, 2011, show the lake at 97 percent of total capacity and 130 percent of its historical average for that date. The photo at right shows the lake on Jan. 16, 2014, when it was at 17 percent of capacity and 35 percent of its historical average.
California Department of Water Resources

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 8:58 am

Farmers in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency last month, are facing hard choices as a drought threatens to ruin their crops. They must weigh the costs of paying for irrigation against the chance that their fields will never get enough water this season.

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The Two-Way
1:25 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Mango Alert: Australians Puzzle Over Huge Stolen Fruit

The Big Mango in Bowen, Australia, seen here in 2011, disappeared overnight, surprising people who live near the 33-foot-tall sculpture.
Jack Zalium/NPR

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:51 am

Update at 7:45 a.m. ET, Feb. 25: Missing Mango Mystery Solved, Here Are The Juicy Details

Our original post fleshes out the story:

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The Two-Way
12:14 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Major League Baseball Changes Home-Plate Rules

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 2:44 pm

Runners trying to reach home plate — and the catchers who often try to block them — will have to follow new rules that are meant to cut the risk of injuries from collisions, after Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed on changing the rules Monday.

The change would take effect in the upcoming 2014 season. In announcing the new rule today, MLB called it "experimental." Here's the summary it provided:

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The Edge
7:17 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Getting Technical: Questions And Answers About The Winter Olympics

American Bode Miller inspired a question about terminal velocity, resistance, and friction with his skiing in Sochi. It's one of many technical questions that came up during the Winter Olympics.
Olivier Morin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 22, 2014 7:41 pm

Events in the Winter Olympics can be highly technical, with arcane rules and specialized equipment that can defy easy explanation. On the question-and-answer site Quora, several interesting topics have come up in recent days, from why athletes use tape on their sleds to how a human can surpass 80 mph on skis.

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The Edge
3:38 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Alcoholics Learn To Make Their Own Beer In Canadian Program

Tyler BigChild, a board member of Vancouver's Drug Users Resource Center, is also part of its Brew Co-Op. The group teaches alcoholics how to make beer and wine, in the hopes that they'll stop risky behavior such as drinking rubbing alcohol.
Portland Hotel Society

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 4:59 pm

Call it a new twist on the old "teach a man to fish" adage. A group in Vancouver, British Columbia, is teaching inveterate alcoholics to brew their own beer and make their own wine, in an attempt to keep them from drinking unsafe liquids to get an alcoholic high.

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The Edge
2:06 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Same Banned Substance Fells German Biathlete, Italian Bobsledder

Germany's Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle has left her country's Olympic contingent — and Sochi — after testing positive for a banned stimulant. She's seen here in the biathlon earlier this week; Sachenbacher-Stehle finished fourth.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

Germany's Sochi 2014 contingent is reeling from the news that Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, a former Olympic medalist in cross-country skiing who took fourth place in the biathlon Monday, has tested positive for banned substances at the Sochi Winter Olympics. An Italian athlete also tested positive, officials said Friday.

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The Edge
12:35 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Finally: U.S. Speedskaters Break Drought, Win Silver In New Race Suits

From left to right, America's J.R. Celski, Jordan Malone, Christopher Creveling and Eduardo Alvarez celebrate taking silver in the men's short track 5,000-meter relay at the Iceberg Skating Palace in the Sochi Winter Olympics Friday.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 4:27 pm

It took far longer than many people expected. But the American Speedskating team that came to Sochi with high expectations has finally won an Olympic medal. The men's short track relay team finished second to Russia Friday, two days before the Winter Games come to an end.

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The Edge
11:28 am
Fri February 21, 2014

U.S. Loses To Canada 1-0; Will Play in Bronze Hockey Match

Canada's Jamie Benn (right) and Corey Perry celebrate a goal against America and goalie Jonathan Quick during the men's hockey semifinals in Sochi Friday.
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 12:50 pm

Canada beat the U.S. men 1-0 in Olympic hockey Friday, winning a tense game that saw strong goalie play and stout defensive work. Despite numerous chances, the Americans weren't able to challenge Canadian goalie Carey Price.

The game was a rematch between two teams that played for gold at the Vancouver 2010 Games. That contest went to overtime before Canada's Sidney Crosby scored an artful golden goal that dashed the Americans' dreams of repeating as gold medalists — something they haven't done since the famed 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympics.

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The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Facebook Will Buy WhatsApp Message Service For $19 Billion

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 4:01 pm

Seeking new ways to be a player in mobile messaging, Facebook announced today that it will acquire the fast-growing WhatsApp firm for some $16 billion in cash and stock. The deal includes an additional $3 billion in Facebook stock for the employees of WhatsApp, who would see the shares vest over four years.

This is the second headline-grabbing acquisition by Facebook, following the $1 billion deal for Instagram that was announced in the spring of 2012. The new deal calls for Facebook to pay $4 billion in cash, along with around $12 billion in stock.

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Washington's Corcoran Museum To Be Taken Over By National Gallery

The Corcoran Gallery of Art, seen here in 2005, plans a partnership with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University that would see both its large collection and its iconic building taken over.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 4:09 pm

The oldest private art museum in Washington is poised to be taken over by the National Gallery of Art, according to a plan to disperse much of the museum's holdings and turn its art college over to George Washington University. The plan was publicly unveiled Wednesday.

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The Edge
1:53 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Williams Is Second American To Win Winter And Summer Olympic Medals

U.S. silver medalists Elana Meyers, left, and Lauryn Williams pose after their final run in the women's bobsled Wednesday. Williams becomes only the second American in history to win medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
Alex Livesey Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:29 am

The top American women's bobsled teams took silver and bronze in Sochi Wednesday, but the story of the day was Lauryn Williams, who became just the second American in history to win medals at both Summer and Winter Olympics. She's the fifth person to have accomplished the feat.

Williams won a silver medal to match the silver she won in the 100 meters 10 years ago at the Athens Games. She also owns an Olympic gold medal, from being part of the U.S. women's 4x100 meter relay team in London two summers ago.

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Wed February 19, 2014

World's Largest Oyster Is Size Of A Man's Shoe

It's alive: At nearly 14 inches long, this oyster has been certified as the world's largest. It's also around the same size as a man's size 10-1/2 or 11 shoe here in the U.S.
Wadden Sea Centre

The world's largest oyster is nearly 14 inches long and resides in Denmark, according to the folks at Guinness World Records. And it's still alive and growing, according to Christine Ditlefsen, the biologist at the Wadden Sea Centre whose world record was recently certified.

The oyster was found in October in Wadden Sea National Park, a shallow area off of the North Sea on Denmark's southwestern coast. Its size and shape could be said to resemble a huge plaintain. But when they found it, the Wadden staff compared the oyster to a large and sturdy shoe.

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The Edge
2:56 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Maybe It's The Suit: U.S. Speedskaters Swap Gear In Sochi

Shani Davis of the U.S. skates in the prototype of the official US Speedskating suit during a training session at the Adler Arena Skating Center in Sochi, Russia, Friday. As U.S. skates have fallen short of their goals at the Winter Olympics, some skaters have asked to switch to their old suits.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 4:34 pm

The American speedskating team has fallen short of its goals at the Sochi Winter Olympics, with favorites such as Shani Davis and Heather Richardson failing to win medals. Some athletes believe the new racing suits they were given for the Olympics may be slowing them down.

Update at 7 p.m. ET: Back To The Old Suits

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The Edge
3:34 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Substitute Racer Takes Olympic Silver In Sochi

Silver medalist Denny Morrison of Canada celebrates his feat, made possible after a teammate gave him a slot in Wednesday's 1,000-meter speedskating race in Sochi. Morrison stands next to gold medalist Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands.
David J. Phillip AP

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 5:31 pm

Olympic athletes often endure weeks of anticipation as pressure builds toward their moment on the global stage. That wasn't a problem for Canadian Denny Morrison, who got his spot in the speedskating finals just one day ahead of the race. Now he has a silver medal.

Many Americans were following the race mainly because American speedskating superstar Shani Davis failed to get a medal in the 1,000-meter race. He finished in eighth place.

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The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Comedian And Actor Sid Caesar Has Died At 91

Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca in a scene from Your Show of Shows. Caesar, whose sketches lit up 1950s television, died Wednesday at 91.
AP

The multitalented Sid Caesar took live and complex comedy skits on the air as a pioneer in 1950s TV. Caesar, who established a new comedic tradition in America before he was 30, died in Los Angeles on Wednesday at 91.

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The Two-Way
12:45 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

With Senate's OK, Debt Limit Bill Will Head To White House

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 1:22 pm

The Senate has voted to extend the federal debt limit, giving final congressional approval to a bill that is meant to cover the government's finances into 2015. The measure passed on a 55-43 vote.

But the most dramatic phase of the legislation's passage came just before the final tally, when it had to get past a cloture vote. Politico says, "Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) demanded the 60-vote threshold on the debt hike."

As The Hill reports:

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