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.

The chances that an El Niño weather pattern will bring much-needed rains to parched areas of the West have fallen from 80 percent to 65 percent, according to a new analysis by weather experts. They add that if the warm-water system does appear, it would likely be a weak one.

An argument is brewing between British photographer David Slater and the folks at Wikimedia over who owns the rights to a photo a monkey took with Slater's equipment. The website says the famous photo should be freely distributed, because it believes the animal's self-portrait isn't bound by copyright law.

President Obama signed legislation Thursday that tries to mend the broken Veterans Affairs system, providing money to improve facilities and hire more medical staff, along with allowing more veterans to use private facilities. The bill is aimed at cutting veterans' long wait times for health care.

The president signed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 one week after it gained congressional approval; the signing ceremony was held at Fort Belvoir, an Army base in Virginia.

Nearly three weeks after reports surfaced that Twenty-First Century Fox had made a spurned offer to purchase fellow media giant Time Warner, Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch confirms that the deal is off. The rejected price had been reported as $80 billion.

Instead of buying Time Warner, Twenty-First Century Fox says it will buy back shares of its own stock, embarking on a plan to repurchase $6 billion worth of the shares over the next 12 months.

Calling a halt to a career that put him at the No. 7 spot on the all-time home run list, Jim Thome officially retired as a Cleveland Indian Saturday. The imposing hitter signed a special one-day contract so he could retire in Cleveland, where he spent most of his 22 seasons in the big leagues.

Extremist group the Islamic State have seized small oil fields and several towns, in a successful push against Kurdish forces in northern Iraq. There are conflicting reports that they've also taken control of Iraq's largest dam. The militants are hoping to cement control of the border area between Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

Months after a girl took the company to task for its female toy figures, Lego has released the Research Institute, a play set created by a "real-life geophysicist, Ellen Kooijman," the company says.

The National Guard is making water deliveries in Toledo, Ohio, where officials say the tap water isn't safe to drink even if it's been boiled. Gov. John Kasich has declared an emergency in the area, as officials await tests on levels of toxins that can cause flu-like symptoms and liver damage.

This post was updated at 5 p.m. ET.

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit Yunnan Province Sunday afternoon, leveling buildings and rippling roads near the city of Zhaotong. News media in China are saying at least 367 people died in the quake, which struck in an area with old and vulnerable buildings.

The death toll in this catastrophe has been sharply rising Sunday, after initial reports that around 26 people had died. We'll update this post as needed.

An Israeli airstrike outside a U.N.-run school in Gaza killed at least 10 people Sunday, Palestinian health officials say. The attack came as Israel declares that a soldier believed to have been captured had actually died in battle.

Update at 7:35 p.m. ET: U.S. And U.N. Condemn Attack

Ray Guy, a gifted athlete who became the prototype of an NFL punter in the 1970s and 80s, is officially being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, becoming the first full-time punter ever invited into the institution in Canton, Ohio.

At 64, Guy's enshrinement ends more than two decades of waiting to be recognized by the Hall of Fame. Last night, his golden Hall of Fame jacket was presented to him by his former Oakland Raiders coach, John Madden, the man who drafted him in the first round back in 1973.

The first of two American aid workers infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia reportedly arrived in Atlanta today to begin treatment. Dr. Kent Brantly has been living in quarantine conditions since realizing he had been infected with the disease last month.

Tired of seeing their neighborhood portrayed in news reports as a desolate and violent place, fifth-graders in Chicago's South Shore area wrote what their teacher calls a "counternarrative." Their op-ed for The Chicago Tribune includes this line: "This isn't Chi-raq. This is home. This is us."

A day after they were to begin a cease-fire, Israel and Hamas are still firing at one another, in a conflict that has killed at least 1,650 Gazans, 63 Israeli soldiers and 3 Israeli civilians, according to tallies from the respective sides.

Those numbers surpass the estimated fatalities from the last major Gaza conflict, which raged for around three weeks from 2008-2009.

Sales incentives helped U.S. auto sales rise in July, as major auto companies reported selling more than 120,000 more vehicles than the same month last year. GM retained its spot as the U.S. sales leader.

Sales of passenger cars rose by nearly 5 percent this July compared to last year, with sales of light trucks even higher, at 13.4 percent, according to data released Friday by research firm Autodata Corp.

GM sold 256,160 vehicles last month, beating Toyota's 215,802 and Ford's 211,467.

Eric Garner, the unarmed man who died two weeks ago after police placed him in a chokehold, was a victim of homicide, says New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Garner's death was captured in a video that showed his confrontation with police on a Staten Island sidewalk.

The update on Garner's controversial death was announced Friday afternoon. Member station WNYC cites spokeswoman Julie Bolcer:

Touting rosy U.S. economic news that has come out this week, President Obama said America's recovery from a debilitating recession is well underway. But he also said the economy "could be doing even better" if Congress were working harder.

Citing the 200,000 jobs created in July – continuing a six-month streak of at least that level – Obama noted that it was "the first time that has happened since 1997."

The latest Drought Monitor report from U.S. agriculture and weather experts finds 58 percent of California in the worst of its four drought levels, in conditions normally seen only once every 50-100 years.

For our Newscast unit, Nathan Rott reports:

A temporary peace will begin Friday morning in Gaza, as Israel and Hamas agree to an "unconditional humanitarian ceasefire," according to a statement by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary of State John Kerry.

The truce is set to begin at 8 a.m. local time Friday and last for 72 hours. U.N. Special Coordinator Robert Serry says he's been assured by officials from both Israel and Hamas that they will abide by the truce. The envoys will also travel to Cairo to negotiate a possible longer peace deal, in talks hosted by Egypt.

Rep. Curt Clawson hasn't been in Congress long — he was sworn into office exactly one month ago. We mention that as a caveat, because in a congressional hearing Thursday, Clawson seems to have mistaken Americans who work in the U.S. departments of State and Commerce for representatives of India's government.

Approving a bill that has already passed the Senate, the House of Representatives has given its consent to legislation that lets U.S. consumers "unlock" their cellphones, rather than having them remain linked to specific service providers.

President Obama says he will sign the bill into law, applauding Congress today for taking "another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cellphone carrier that meets their needs and their budget."

A bill that would require transparency by nonprofit groups related to federal elections met with united opposition from Republicans Wednesday, at the first Senate hearing on what its supporters call the Disclose Act.

The legislation would require any politically active group that spends more than $10,000 to list its donors. It was introduced last month, with 52 senators listed as its sponsors or co-sponsors (including the chamber's two independents).

NPR's Peter Overby reports:

Fires are still raging in Washington state, where officials hope rain might help them contain the large fires — but there's also a chance that heavy rainfall could trigger flooding and mudslides.

Fire crews have been battling several major fires in central and eastern Washington for the past two weeks. The blazes have destroyed hundreds of homes and caused wide power outages.

Announcing six different safety recalls Wednesday, GM said it needs to fix problems that range from a turn-signal bug to an unpredictable loss of power steering. The flaws were found in vehicles from model years 2011 to 2015.

GM says no deaths and only two crashes have been linked to the recalls, which come in a year that has already seen the Detroit carmaker recall nearly 30 million vehicles worldwide. The company has "passed the 22 million vehicles recalled by all automakers last year," the AP says.

A domestic flight in Taiwan that was attempting to land in bad weather brought on by a strong typhoon Wednesday night crashed near the runway, killing as many as 47 of the 58 people aboard, according to multiple media outlets.

About a dozen survivors have reportedly been taken to local hospitals; the plane reportedly had 54 passengers and a crew of four.

From Kuala Lumpur, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports:

American analysts say they've verified several pieces of evidence that show pro-Russian separatist rebels shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, according to U.S. intelligence officials who briefed reporters Tuesday.

Here's a quick rundown of the officials' updates on what U.S. investigators have found, from notes taken by NPR's Pentagon reporter Tom Bowman:

  • A U.S. spy satellite detected the launch of a surface-to-air missile in the area just before the plane went down.

Ten years after its landmark report on terrorism, the 9/11 Commission has released an update in which it notes continued problems. But in 2014, the dangers have shifted geographically — and online, the commission's former members say.

Noting that the world has changed "dramatically" since 2004, the report's authors write that "Al Qaeda–affiliated groups are now active in more countries than before 9/11."

Less than a year after his lenient jail sentence for an admitted rapist stirred outrage, a Montana judge was publicly reprimanded today. In giving a former high school teacher only a 30-day jail sentence, District Judge G. Todd Baugh said the man's victim, a student, seemed older than her age, 14.

The Johns Hopkins Health System will pay $190 million to former patients of a gynecologist who used a small camera to secretly film examinations, in one of the largest sexual misconduct settlements involving a physician.

The Baltimore-based hospital is settling a class-action lawsuit that includes more than 7,000 women and at least 62 minors; more women will likely register with the suit.

From member station WYPR, Christopher Connelly reports:

This post was last updated at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Pro-Russian separatists have given what they say are Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17's data recorders to Malaysian officials in Donetsk, the city in eastern Ukraine that has been the militants' stronghold.

Along with the release of victims' bodies hours earlier, the transfer of the black boxes fulfills part of a deal Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he had reached with the rebels Monday.

Pages