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

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, and editing and producing stories for'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.

The use of DNA evidence to exonerate people wrongfully convicted of crimes — and in some cases, free them after decades in prison — is verging on becoming commonplace. It's one reason several states have ceased or slowed down their use of capital punishment. But for some exonerees, the large compensation payment they're often owed brings another clash, with their attorneys.

In Germany, a dairy cow named Yvonne's death-defying escape — and continued success in eluding capture — has become an incandescent symbol of freedom and animal dignity. Okay, that may be hyperbolic. But how else to explain scores of visitors to Zangberg, the Bavarian commune Yvonne calls home, or the 10,000-euro reward offered for her safe return?

America's two largest hot dog makers face off in a district courthouse in Chicago today, in a case that may determine the limits companies must observe when putting down their competition in advertisements.

The quibble started in 2009, when an Oscar Mayer ad campaign directly targeted Ball Park Franks, with the claim "We are tastier." As proof, it cited a "national taste test" — organized by Oscar Mayer. The folks at Ball Park weren't satisfied.

The decisive tip that brought the capture of three Florida siblings dubbed the "Dougherty Gang" came from two retired officers who were just out to enjoy a day in the San Isabel National Forest, according to new details of their arrest.

And it turns out that one of the brothers will also face a charge of grand theft auto, because the 2006 white Subaru Impreza the trio repeatedly used to flee police was a loaner.

One day after the U.S. debt "supercommittee" was finalized, the largest political donors to Republicans and Democrats on the panel are being scrutinized — after all, lobbyists are widely expected to court the committee's 12 members, to ensure that their interests stay off the chopping block.

A U.S. appeals court has ruled in favor of 26 states that filed suit to challenge a requirement in President Barack Obama's healthcare law that forced individuals to own health insurance. The law's "individual mandate" portion was declared unconstitutional, according to Reuters.

The court has apparently ruled that the remainder of the law, without the individual mandate, can stand, Reuters reports.

A woman who had been hospitalized since being struck by a cyclist in San Francisco last month died Thursday, opening the question of what charges, if any, might be filed against the cyclist. Dionette Cherney, a Washington, D.C., resident in her late 60s, suffered a head injury in the crash, from which she did not recover.

Two young women are accused of looting during the riots that have taken over several British cities this week. How they came to the attention of the courts provides a glimpse into the unrest — and how far the fractured country has to go to heal itself.

Researchers have created a new thin flexible sensor that can be applied with water, like a temporary tattoo. Measuring activity in the brain, heart and muscles, the innovation could cut down on the number of wires and cables medical personnel use to monitor patients, among other applications.

The electronics can bend, stretch and squeeze along with human skin, and maintain contact by relying on "van der Waals interactions" — the natural stickiness credited for geckoes' ability to cling to surfaces.

Just two years after the crown of the Statue of Liberty was reopened to visitors, the entire monument will be shut down for a year to conduct more renovations, the National Park Service says.

The closure will begin the day after the statue's 125th anniversary is celebrated on Oct. 28.

The 12 members of the Debt "Super Committee" are now official, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named her three appointees Thursday. She chose Reps. James Clyburn of South Carolina, Xavier Becerra of California, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

As reported here yesterday, the other nine members have already been chosen. Here's the full panel lineup:

  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) - co-chair
  • Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)

Japan is removing its nuclear regulatory agency from the control of its trade ministry, dissolving a relationship that was criticized in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. The new nuclear safety agency will be under the environmental agency, Kyodo News reports.

The move, coming exactly five month after a powerful earthquake and tsunami set off a nuclear crisis in Japan, may help ease criticisms that regulators are too cozy with pro-nuclear interests.

The king of American Scrabble has kept his crown, as Nigel Richards spelled his way to the 2011 National Scrabble Championship title and a $10,000 prize. Richards, 44, is a former world champion from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The U.S. budget deficit stood at $1.1 trillion through July, the Treasury Department says, making 2011 the third consecutive year that the deficit has hit at least $1 trillion. The federal government's budget year begins in October, leaving two more months in which the deficit might rise.

Looking at the numbers for July alone, the U.S. budget shortfall was $129 billion — a drop in spending from July 2010, according to Bloomberg.

As the AP reports:

You may not have realized it, but a piece of U.S. property was recently driving around on the surface of Mars. Tens of millions of miles away from the debt crisis, the heat wave and other big events of the summer, NASA's rover Opportunity just completed a 13-mile trip to allow scientists to examine a Martian crater.

The "Dougherty Gang" — two brothers and their sister who are accused of a crime spree that began in their native Florida — has been captured in Colorado, The Denver Post reports. Ryan Dougherty, 21, Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26, and Lee Grace Dougherty, 29, were reportedly arrested one day after visiting an REI store in Colorado Springs, where a tipster phoned police.

The new "Debt Supercommittee" created by the recent deficit ceiling deal now has 9 of its 12 members, as House Speaker John Boehner says Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas will co-chair the new committee, according to the AP.

The panel's task will be to create a bipartisan plan for cutting the federal deficit by around $1.5 trillion. That money could come from a combination of spending cuts and raising revenue.

If the panel fails to reach an agreement, automatic cuts would be made — and the automated cuts were crafted to be unpalatable to both of the major political parties.

U.S. stocks stumbled out of the gate Wednesday, falling more than 300 points in the first few minutes of trading.

The sharp drop came despite a rally that buoyed U.S. indexes Tuesday, and rallies from the European and Asian markets Wednesday. Global investors seemed to take heart in the Federal Reserve's pledge to maintain low interest rates and stabilize the U.S. economy.

An arresting image of a woman jumping into the arms of riot police has become a sensation, as the stark silhouette of her leaping figure against a background of bright flames captures a dramatic moment in Britain's riots. At least five of Britain's largest newspapers used the photo on their front pages Tuesday.

America has a new poet laureate today, as the Library of Congress names Philip Levine in the one-year position. He will succeed W.S. Merwin in the post. Born in Detroit in 1928, Levine has used his poetry to examine blue-collar life, often embroidering everyday events with a sense of myth.

With 16,000 police officers out in full force in London's streets in an effort to put a stop to violent riots that have ravaged the city for three days, the British capital was "relatively calm" Tuesday, says the BBC.

For evidence of the volatile swings of Tuesday's stock market, consider that for a bit, Apple became the most valuable American company, surpassing Exxon Mobil. The day's trading spanned 600 points, as investors rallied from two days of steep declines and digested new guidance from the Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 index of large-cap U.S. companies saw its largest gain in two years, rising by nearly 5 percent. Just the day before, it had fallen by 6.7 percent.

For Newscast, Yuki Noguchi filed this report:

A ceremonial bell tolled in Nagasaki, Japan, Tuesday morning, marking the beginning of a moment of silence to remember tens of thousands of people killed by an atomic bomb that fell from a U.S. plane 66 years ago. And for the first time, the ceremony was attended by a U.S. government official.

A mysterious orange goo that appeared on the shore of a small village in Alaska has been identified as "millions of microscopic eggs filled with fatty droplets," the AP reports. But researchers say they still don't know what the eggs might hatch, or if they are toxic.

The mass of eggs began appearing last week, surprising even longtime residents of the village of Kivalina. Discovery News, which spoke with a town official, describes the goo:

Some 800 metric tons of food are on the way to East Africa, where more than 12 million people are suffering from a severe drought. The U.N. World Food Program is using nine airlifts to send high-energy biscuits to Kenya, where it will be distributed to famine victims.

The shipment is expected to be enough to feed 1.6 million people for one day. The United Nations says that 640,000 children in the Horn of Africa region are at risk of acute malnutrition.