Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and producer who currently works on The Two Way, NPR's flagship news portal. In the past, he has edited and coordinated digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, in addition to editing 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.

An oil drilling rig holding more than 150,000 gallons of diesel, lubricating oil, and hydraulic fluid has run aground near Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, after it was being towed during a storm. The crew was evacuated before the rig was incapacitated.

"The rig ran aground in a storm, with waves up to 35 feet and wind to 70 miles per hour," reports Jeff Brady, on NPR's Newscast. The Shell Oil rig is "about 250 miles south of Anchorage," Jeff says.

Update at 6:13 p.m. ET. No Sign of a Leak.

It is New Year's Eve. And that means people will: go to parties and drink Champagne; ignore the hubbub and go to bed by 10; start cooking for New Year's Day; watch college football — or possibly some combination of the above.

You can see celebrations around the world by checking out a special photo feed on Instagram. The site shifts timezones to mark the latest to ring in the new year.

The FISA Amendments Act has been approved for another five years, as the Senate voted to renew the law that grants the government wide surveillance authority. President Obama has said he intends to sign the measure, which senators approved by a 73-23 margin Friday morning. It had already won approval in the House.

Update at 6:10 p.m. Dec. 31: Obama signs FISA extension.

The president signed the FISA extension Sunday. Our original post continues:

A woman who survived a brutal gang-rape on a bus in India has died, according to reports. Earlier Friday, hospital officials in Singapore, where the 23-year-old student was being treated, had warned that her condition was worsening.

Days before a budget crisis deadline will hit the U.S. economy, President Obama says, "I'm optimistic we may still be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time."

The details of that agreement, which could avert automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are set to take effect on Jan. 1, would likely come from discussions between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

In Italy, a Catholic priest has stirred widespread outrage after he blamed incidents of domestic violence on the way women dress. Father Piero Corsi's remarks were in a Christmas message he put on a church bulletin board; photos of the note soon went viral.

As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, "a record 118 women have been murdered this year alone in domestic violence" in Italy, reportedly the highest number in Europe.

Here's more from Sylvia, in Rome:

"The title of message was 'Women and Femicide, How often do they provoke?'"

Sighs of relief were breathed in Austria today, after a missing pony made it back to his circus after an apparent horse-napping. While it might seem difficult to steal, and then conceal, a horse, consider that the animal, named Fridolin, is only about two feet tall.

The miniature pony, a main attraction of the Vienna Christmas Circus, was found after a tip came in that the pint-sized horse "had been abandoned at a bus stop," reports the Vienna Times.

An Arizona ski resort is making snow for the first time this year, ending more than seven years' worth of legal battles over its snowmaking system, which relies entirely upon treated wastewater to coat its slopes when the snowfall has been uneven.

The resort, Arizona Snowbowl, has long been a target of American Indian tribes, who say it defiles sacred land. Critics have also said the snowmaking system might threaten an endangered plant. The resort sits on more than 700 acres of land that it leases from the U.S. Forest Service.

Owners of Toyota vehicles that experienced sudden and unintended acceleration have reached a settlement that could require the carmaker to pay as much as $1.4 billion in claims, according to the auto maker and the law firm representing Toyota customers.

U.S. District Court Judge James Selna, at whose direction the many lawsuits over the "runaway car" fears were consolidated in 2010, will review the proposed settlement Friday.

It's been 80 years since Britain's royal family began broadcasting a Christmas message — and 60 years since Queen Elizabeth took up the duty. Now, the monarch will deliver her 2012 holiday address in 3-D.

An international criminal court has found a former Rwandan government official guilty of genocide and other crimes, sentencing him to 35 years in prison for his role in the Hutu-led government's murder of ethnic Tutsis on an epic scale. The trial is the last stemming from events 18 years ago.

As Gregory Warner reports for NPR's Newscast unit:

Update at 7 a.m. ET, Dec. 21: We're Still Here.

Our original post continues:

It is Dec. 20, 2012 — and citizens of Earth are panicking, consumed by the idea that the world will end Friday, something they say was predicted by Mayan astronomers. Of course, most people are not panicking, and Maya expert David Stuart says no one should. The calendar, he says, has plenty of room to go.

When the students of Sandy Hook Elementary return to class after the holiday break, they'll be attending a different school. They'll also have an interim principal who will be a familiar face to some: Donna Page, who retired from Sandy Hook two years ago.

As NPR's Zoe Chace reports, the news was announced by a voicemail sent to the parents of Sandy Hook's students, in which Page (pronounced Pa-jhay), told them, "It is with a heavy heart full of love that I connect with you today. You may not know me, but I know you. I was principal of Sandy Hook School for 14 years."

Gov. Rick Snyder has vetoed a bill that would have allowed concealed pistols to be carried in schools and other places where they had been banned. The Michigan legislature had approved the legislation when its lame-duck session ended Thursday — one day before the Newtown elementary school shootings.

As NPR's Rick Pluta reported for today's Morning Edition, Snyder has said that Friday's tragedy played a role in his consideration of the bill:

The National Rifle Association of America has broken its silence to comment on Friday's gun violence that ravaged a tight-knit Connecticut community, releasing a statement in which the gun-owners' rights group said it "is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

Despite a slowdown in U.S. consumption, coal is poised to replace oil as the world's top energy source — possibly in the next five years, according to the International Energy Agency. The rise will be driven almost entirely by new energy demands in China and India, the IEA says.

Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, 88, has died of respiratory complications, according to reports from the AP and other news agencies. The World War II veteran, a Democrat, had been the most senior member of the Senate. He joined its ranks in 1963, shortly after Hawaii became a state.

At the time of his death, Inouye was the president pro tempore, placing him third in the line of succession, behind Vice President Biden and the House speaker. He was also the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Update at 12:43 p.m. ET, Dec. 20: After we published this post, Shannon Hicks of The Newtown Bee got in touch to clarify details from the day of the Sandy Hook shooting. The text below now reflects those clarifications. For details of the revisions, please see the bottom of the post.

A day after the names of children and educators killed by a gunman at a Connecticut elementary school were released by law enforcement officials, details about the victims and their lives are emerging. In the wake of Friday's depraved attack in which 20 students and 6 adults were murdered, family members and friends have made public statements about their loss. And some have chosen to mourn in private.

As details emerged about the tragic shooting deaths of more than 20 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school today, law enforcement sources first named Ryan Lanza as the suspected gunman. But that account, reported by NPR and other news outlets, was later called into question by reports that identified Lanza's younger brother, Adam, as the suspect.

Update at 7:28 p.m. ET: Suspect's Identity Confirmed.

President Obama hosted House Speaker John Boehner today, spending nearly an hour together in which they reportedly discussed ways to avert the looming "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax hikes that are due to strike at the end of 2012. Boehner left the White House at 6 p.m., ET, apparently without reaching a deal. As Politico reports, the Republican plans to return to his home state of Ohio this weekend.

When most drivers get a ticket from a speed-zone camera, there's little they can do but pay the fine. After all, the ticket often includes photographic proof that their car was over the limit. But a Maryland driver is fighting his $40 fine precisely because of what the photos show: his car, sitting at a red light.

California Gov. Jerry Brown is receiving radiation therapy for prostate cancer, which his physician says was caught at an "early stage." The governor's office announced the news today, adding that Brown's work schedule has not been disrupted.

"The prognosis is excellent, and there are not expected to be any significant side effects," the governor's office quoted UCSF oncologist Dr. Eric Small as saying. Calling the cancer "localized," Small said that Brown is undergoing a short course of radiation therapy.

Brown is expected to undergo treatment through early January.

To many beer fans, the arrival of the Westvleteren 12 Trappist ale in American shops today is a chance to try a beer they've only read about on beer-geek blogs and sites — where it's often given a "world class" rating of 100.

But finding the beer can be tricky — it's not available in all states, and some stores sold out of their allotment within hours of opening Wednesday.

The remaining winner of the $587.5 million Powerball jackpot has come forward to claim their share of the prize, according to lottery officials in Arizona, where the winning ticket was sold, according to ABC 15 TV in Phoenix.

The Nov. 28 drawing produced two winning tickets: one in Arizona, and one in Missouri, where Cindy and Mark Hill have already claimed their share of the prize.

Thanksgiving is Thursday, and that means more than 43 million Americans will be on the road, driving to family gatherings. For many parents, the crowded roads can bring another challenge: Keeping a 9-year-old entertained along the way. And sometimes, DVDs are not enough. These days, kids love to tinker with smartphones and tablets, as well.

With that in mind, NPR's Renee Montagne spoke with an actual 9-year-old, Jane Frauenfelder, and her father, Mark. Together, they host the podcast Apps for Kids.

Reactions to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's recently released report on cyclist Lance Armstrong's use of performance-enhancing drugs have ranged from denial to anger and disappointment. Some have said Armstrong merely did what it took to compete with pro racers, all of them chemically enhanced. But that's just not true, says Joe Lindsey, a contributor to Bicycling magazine.

The soaring drone of a full bagpipe and drum corps greeted thousands of people who marched into a Denver arena for the Great American Beer Festival this past weekend. The martial music seemed a fitting way to prepare the crowd to test their palates, and their fortitude, against 2,700 different beers made by some of the best breweries in the United States.

It's official: Sean Connery IS James Bond, according to NPR readers who weighed the question this week. The final results show that Connery set the gold standard as 007, the spy known for his playfulness, his ruthlessness — and his ability to look good in a suit. Today marks the Bond film franchise's 50th anniversary.