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 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.

Updated 2:14 a.m. ET Thursday

The National Hurricane Center says the dangerous core of the storm will move away from Puerto Rico Thursday morning and is expected to pass just north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Irma is expected to be near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas by Thursday evening.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

As Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that the National Hurricane Center calls "extremely dangerous," is making its way west through the Caribbean Sea.

Updated at 2:15 a.m. ET Wednesday:

The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history made its first landfall in Northeast Caribbean islands. The eye passed over Barbuda around 1:47 a.m, according to the National Weather Service.

Updated at 11:10 p.m. ET

"Hurricane Irma has intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane," the National Hurricane Center says, citing the latest data from NOAA and Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft.

Updated 8:35 p.m. ET

The Salt Lake City hospital where a police officer roughly arrested a nurse who was protecting her patient's rights in July will no longer allow law enforcement agents inside its patient care areas. They'll now have to check in rather than enter through the emergency room.

A judge has thrown out charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault against former members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity who had been indicted by a grand jury over the death of pledge Timothy Piazza at Penn State.

A total of 18 Beta Theta Pi members were named in the grand jury's indictment released in May. As of Friday's ruling, 14 still face charges, after the judge dismissed the cases against four of the men.

Harvey is finally out of the picture — but the storm's devastating effects on Houston and other parts of Texas and Louisiana are still coming into focus. As waters recede, some areas remain flooded, and there is no drinking water in Beaumont.

At least 36 people are confirmed to have died because of the storm. Property damage could be as high as $100 billion, Moody's Analytics says.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it has received more registrations for assistance — 364,000 — than for any previous single event.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

The U.S. economy created an estimated 156,000 jobs in August, falling slightly short of analysts' estimates, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.4 percent; it had been at 4.3 percent.

Saying that Kenya's recent national election that gave President Uhuru Kenyatta another term in office was held in an unconstitutional manner, the country's Supreme Court has annulled the results of the Aug. 8 vote. The surprising announcement prompted celebrations by opposition candidate Raila Odinga.

The turnabout comes weeks after the elections commission said Kenyatta had beaten Odinga by more than 1 million votes. The court's decision did not go into deep detail about what led it to invalidate the election.

From Nairobi, NPR's Eyder Peralta reports:

Thousands of people are without water in Beaumont, Texas, adding to the misery of extreme flooding that has left large swaths of it and neighboring towns underwater. The lack of water is also forcing a large hospital to shut down — including its emergency services.

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET

Fire broke out and containers of chemicals burst at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, early Thursday, confirming fears that highly flammable organic peroxides produced at the plant could pose a threat after Hurricane Harvey knocked out safety systems.

"We got some water, y'all. Harvey wasn't playing," Mayor Derrick Freeman of Port Arthur, Texas, says in a video that shows knee-deep water inside his house. He's far from alone: A large shelter in the coastal city was flooded by rainfall dumped by Tropical Storm Harvey.

At least 100 people had sought refuge at the Bob Bowers Civic Center — only to see brown, murky water rush in, flooding a large space and leaving water just below the surface of cots.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is leaving an Obama-era policy on transgender military service members largely intact, saying he needs input from an expert panel to determine the best way to implement President Trump's ban that would keep transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

Trump barred transgender would-be recruits from signing up, but he gave Mattis discretion to decide the status of transgender people who are already serving.

It took two commercial trucks to deliver the 18,000 pounds of sandbags Kristin Massey deployed to anchor plastic sheeting around her home, but it wasn't enough to stop the massive amount of water brought by Harvey. Massey posted new images of her flooded home Tuesday.

"We did all that we could, but it would never have been enough," Massey wrote, providing an update that included photos of her flooded neighborhood of Meyerland, in southwest Houston.

Updated 10:50 p.m. ET

The medical examiner of Harris County, Texas, has confirmed five deaths directly stemming from Tropical Storm Harvey. A spokesperson for the office says another eight deaths that may be linked to the storm are awaiting autopsy.

The ME names four of the victims, including police Sgt. Steve Perez, whose death was announced Tuesday.

  • Alexander Kwoksum Sung, male, 64, place of death South Houston, caused by drowning/accident

David Torrence, an athlete who ran in last year's Summer Olympics and had been training for more races, was found dead in a swimming pool in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Monday, according to local news reports and Torrence's friends.

"The track world lost a great friend and athlete today," USA Track & Field said in a tweet about the 31-year-old runner's death.

The colors the National Weather Service uses to show rainfall on its weather map couldn't represent the deluge in southeastern Texas, so the NWS added two more purple shades to its map. The old scale topped out at more than 15 inches; the new limit tops 30 inches.

The scale of the catastrophe hitting southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana has residents struggling to protect their lives and property, as up to 50 inches of rain is forecast to hit some areas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey this week.

For a sign of the conditions in Houston and nearby areas, consider this: The U.S. Coast Guard says it's "conducting urban search and rescue in the city of Houston."

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

In Houston, reservoirs swollen by rain from Hurricane Harvey were opened early Monday, a move that was expected to flood more homes — but one that the Army Corps of Engineers says is needed to limit the scope of the disaster that's threatening lives and property in Texas.

Amazon is cutting the prices of bananas, butter, organic eggs, and other best-selling staples at Whole Foods' 470 stores, promising customers lower costs and targeting the grocer's "Whole Paycheck" nickname. The online giant also says its Amazon Prime members will get special prices and perks.

Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET

Tens of thousands of angry followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh — who calls himself the "Guru of Bling" — forced a lockdown in cities in northern India on Friday, after a court convicted the guru of raping two of his followers. Local media report that at least 28 people have died in the unrest.

Protesters set fires and clashed with police and security officers in two states, Haryana and Punjab, after a court in Panchkula announced it had found the guru guilty.

Thai authorities are looking for former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra after she was a no-show Friday at a hearing where she was expected to learn the verdict in her criminal trial. Thailand's Supreme Court has issued an arrest warrant and border guards were keeping an eye out for her, although there was speculation that Shinawatra may have already left the country.

The dramatic twist dashed the expectations of many in Thailand who had been awaiting the verdict — and a potential prison sentence for Shinawatra if convicted of negligence.

Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET Friday

Hurricane Harvey is getting stronger and could make landfall in the middle of the Texas coast Friday night, the National Hurricane Center says, warning of the potential for a deadly storm surge and flooding along the Gulf of Mexico.

Early Friday morning, the Center said Harvey had strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane with maximum winds as strong as 100 mph.

Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods is another step closer to reality, after the Federal Trade Commission decided the grocery deal would not hamper competition or provide an unfair advantage.

Transgender members of the U.S. military would be subject to removal at Defense Secretary James Mattis' discretion — and the service would bar transgender people from enlisting, under new White House guidelines for the Pentagon. President Trump announced the ban via a tweet last month.

Rough details of the guidelines were confirmed by NPR's Tom Bowman after the White House plan for the Pentagon was reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Spanish police say they've arrested four people in connection to terrorist attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 100 others in and around Barcelona Thursday. Five suspects were killed as they tried to carry out a second terrorist attack in a nearby city.

The current location of the driver of a white van that plowed through a crowd of people on Barcelona's landmark Las Ramblas boulevard Thursday afternoon remains unknown.

The U.S. Navy has relieved the USS Fitzgerald's commander and two other senior leaders of their duties — and it's also praising the crew for saving their ship after the destroyer collided with a large Philippine-flagged container ship off the coast of Japan on June 17.

Two psychologists who were paid more than $80 million by the CIA to develop "enhanced interrogation" techniques — which have been called torture — have settled a lawsuit brought by men who were detained.

The list of brutal methods devised by Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell for use by the U.S. included waterboarding. The tactics were meant to condition detainees into a state of helplessness. Mitchell has said he was told by U.S. officials that the idea was to "walk right up to the edge of the law."

Shortly after President Trump posted a link for tickets to a rally in Phoenix, the city's mayor issued a statement asking the president not to come, saying, "our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville."

Mayor Greg Stanton continued, "If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation."

A federal grand jury has indicted James Matthew Bradley, Jr., on five counts related to the discovery of dozens of immigrants who were crammed into a semi's trailer in a Walmart parking lot during hot weather in San Antonio last month.

Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET

President Trump declared Wednesday he is disbanding two economic advisory panels, after a growing number of the corporate CEO's who sat on them decided to leave, in the wake of Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

Trump said in a tweet that he is ending the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative and the Strategic and Policy Forum "rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople" that made up those groups.

President Trump roiled opinion Tuesday by reversing himself and reiterating his claim that "both sides" of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., were to blame for violence that killed one woman and left many injured.

Trump made the remarks at a news conference at Trump Tower in New York, engaging in back-and-forth exchanges with reporters about what transpired in Charlottesville over the weekend.

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