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.

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.

As the world's financial markets struggle to cope with fears of a U.S. recession and a spreading European debt crisis, China on Tuesday called for more cooperation to stabilize markets and encourage growth.

Adding its seal of approval to a joint statement from finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 nations issued Monday, China's top officials urged "relevant nations" to cut their deficits and get debt problems under control.

The New York City Triathlon was the scene for an unprecedented tragedy Sunday, is considering changes to its screening process, after two competitors died during Sunday's race. Both Michael Kudryk, 64, and Amy Martich, 40, died during the swim portion of the event.

U.S. stock benchmarks took another big hit Monday, in the first day of trading since America's credit was downgraded by Standard and Poor's rating agency late Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial index closed below the 11,000 mark for the first time since late 2010, ending the day at 10,811.

The Standard and Poor's 500 Index, meant to reflect the U.S. domestic economy, sank by 6.7 percent Monday. According to Bloomberg, all 500 of the stocks in the index declined on the same day — something that hadn't happened since at least 1996.

Cars and buildings were burning and stores were looted in areas across London Monday, on the third night of riots and violence in the British capital. "Area is an absolute war zone," pub manager Alan McCabe told the BBC in Croydon.

Prime Minister David Cameron is returning early from his summer vacation to help get the riots under control. He will meet with police and Home Office officials Tuesday, part of his "COBRA" emergency response team. The group takes its name from the Cabinet Office Briefing Room in which it meets.

A ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is being seen as a victory against "patent trolls," companies that acquire intellectual property for the sole purpose of extracting licensing fees or settlements, despite having no intention of using the protected technology or idea themselves.

Scientists have long thought that Earth's continents once formed a "supercontinent" called Pangaea. Now they've found evidence that parts of North America and East Antarctica were joined in a supercontinent called Rodinia 1.1 billion years ago — even earlier than Pangaea.

"I can go to the Franklin Mountains in West Texas and stand next to what was once part of Coats Land in Antarctica," said geochemist Staci Loewy, who led the work. "That's so amazing."

New details are emerging about the downing of a Chinook military helicopter in Afghanistan early Saturday that killed 30 U.S. service members and 8 Afghans. Of the American casualties, 22 were Navy SEALS. The NATO mission in Afghanistan released a statement about the crash Monday.

For Newscast, Ahmad Shafi reported:

Syria's President Bashar Assad has removed the country's defense minister and replaced him with the army chief of staff, according to Syria's state-run news agency. The change, one of several in key government posts, comes during Syria's "brutal crackdown on a five-month-old uprising" against Assad, the AP reports.

That crackdown is bringing pressure on Syria and Assad from nearly all quarters. As Eyder reported earlier, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have now recalled their ambassadors. Here's a quick rundown of other developments:

DuPont Co. is pulling a new herbicide from the market, after it was blamed for damaging or killing thousands of trees. Since the EPA approved the weedkiller Imprelis for sale last October, it has become the target of several lawsuits.

As reported by the Lawn and Landscape website, DuPont has posted a letter announcing the suspension of sales, and instituting a return-for-refund policy. The company also expressed regret for any "tree injuries."

U.S. stock markets finished Friday with a mix of gains and losses, ending a volatile week of steep declines on Wall Street. The release of better-than-expected July job numbers helped early in the day, but the data only seemed to pause, not end, the blood-letting.

But for drivers, there's an upside to the market's losses: The price of gasoline is going to fall, as well, dragged down by the same fears that prompted the flight from stocks.

Small beer brewers in Massachusetts were shocked this week, when the state alcohol commission announced a new rule that any "farmer-brewers" in the state must grow at least 50 percent of their beer's hops and grain themselves, or get them from a domestic farm they've contracted with for the purpose.

When it announced the advisory, the commission emphasized that farmer-brewer licenses were created to encourage development of the state's domestic farms. But the license also costs far less money than a full "manufacturer" permit.

President Obama outlined his plan to help veterans find jobs Friday, calling for better training for demobilized soldiers and tax credits for employers who hire them. In June, there were 1 million unemployed veterans in America, and the jobless rate for post-Sept. 11 veterans stood at 13.3 percent — about four points higher than the national average.

Ari Shapiro filed this report for Newscast:

The Los Angeles school district has rehired 450 elementary school teachers who had been laid off in June. The AP reports that the jobs were restored after "a combination of retirements, resignations, dismissals and a four-day furlough agreement with the teachers union allowed the district to rescind the layoffs."

The layoffs were part of massive job cuts instituted this summer, as Los Angeles dealt with state funding cuts. Although the school district has rehired 4,170 teachers and support staff since those initial cuts were made, some 1,450 personnel remain laid off.

Cable and Internet provider Comcast is launching a new initiative aimed at bridging the digital divide, offering discounted web access and home computers to families that meet income requirements.

The plan, called Internet Essentials, will be available wherever Comcast offers Internet services — which it currently does in 39 states. The company has launched websites in English and Spanish to promote the program.

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