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.

One day after FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced his resignation, Interpol has issued "red notices" for two former senior FIFA officials and several executives who were indicted on U.S. criminal charges. And South Africa has denied that it issued millions in bribes related to the 2010 World Cup.

Blatter will remain FIFA's leader for months; the organization says a new election could be held "anytime from December of this year to March of next year."

Update, 12:50 p.m. ET:

As expected, the death toll from the capsizing of a cruise ship on China's Yangtze River began rising dramatically late Wednesday, as Reuters reported that the number of bodies recovered had jumped to 65.

The Senate has approved the USA Freedom Act, which will alter the way U.S. agencies conduct surveillance and gather data. A final vote on the bill came late Tuesday afternoon, after amendments to the bill failed.

Update at 9:30 p.m. ET: Obama's Signature

Following an expedited enrollment process, President Obama signed the bill into law late Tuesday.

Nearly two years after his information about America's spying programs caused an international uproar, former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden spoke to an audience in London on Tuesday via live video feed.

Nearly 100 years after their heroic deeds, two World War I U.S. Army soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor, America's highest military honor, on Tuesday. Historians say Sgts. William Shemin and Henry Johnson hadn't been properly recognized for their bravery under fire.

A herd of Texas cattle is safe Monday, thanks to the work of cowboys and volunteers who worked to move some 500 cows and calves from an "island" of land that was being shrunk by the rising Trinity River.

The rescue meant that what could have been a scene "from an 1800s-era Texas cattle drive actually took place," says the Sheriff's Office in Liberty County, northeast of Houston. The cattle had been stranded on about 40 acres of land that was losing ground to floodwaters.

The Supreme Court has reversed the conviction of a Pennsylvania man who said violent messages he posted on Facebook were therapeutic, not true threats. Anthony Elonis was arrested by the FBI, which had been monitoring his posts.

At issue is the standard by which a lower court viewed rap lyrics and messages from Elonis, who often posted graphically violent language along with disclaimers that he was merely asserting his First Amendment rights.

Sunday was Winnie Blagden's birthday — and it was, despite her expectations, a big deal. When word got out that the English woman was about to turn 100 and had no living relatives, thousands of people sent cards and gifts.

The number of people who died because of storms that have inundated parts of Texas and Oklahoma this week has hit 25 people, after search crews found a drowned truck driver whose vehicle had overturned in a culvert near Dallas.

That's the word from member station KERA, where Lauren Silverman reports that a new batch of storms that hit Dallas-Fort Worth "dumped three to seven inches of rain on an already over-saturated area" Thursday night.

All that water created treacherous conditions for Friday morning's commute; widespread and serious delays were reported.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says Idaho's law prohibiting abortions after 20 or more weeks of pregnancy is "unconstitutional because it categorically bans some abortions before viability."

The court ruled in favor of Jennie McCormack and Dr. Richard Hearn (on behalf of himself and his patients), who had challenged Idaho's Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that restricts abortion in the state.

Confusion and emotion broke out at Friday's FIFA Congress — and it wasn't over embattled leader Sepp Blatter. The leaders of the Israeli and Palestinian soccer organizations shook hands.

The much-discussed "handshake for peace" happened after the Palestinian Football Association withdrew its proposal that FIFA suspend Israel from international competition.

Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter is speaking at the beginning of the 65th Congress of soccer's worldwide governing body. Blatter faces a re-election vote Friday, in the face of new corruption and bribery charges against senior members of FIFA.

"These are unprecedented and difficult times for FIFA," Blatter said. "The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this league's congress."

It was a somber opening to FIFA's meeting of international sporting bodies, an assembly that was celebrated with flag-bearers and other pageantry.

Even though its predictions call for a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season with six to 11 named storms this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says strong and devastating storms remain a possibility.

From NOAA:

One day after a string of bribery arrests and indictments was revealed to center on FIFA, the soccer organization's president, Sepp Blatter, says he will not resign. Accusations of rampant corruption at FIFA came just days before Blatter stands for reelection in Switzerland Friday.

Updated at 12:33 p.m. ET

Former New York Gov. George Pataki is adding his name to the list of Republicans running for their party's 2016 presidential nomination.

The Department of Defense says an attempt to ship inactive anthrax samples resulted in live samples being sent to labs in nine U.S. states and to a U.S. Air Force base in South Korea.

Fears of exposure to the potentially deadly disease prompted officials to advise four civilian workers to get preventive care; more than 20 military personnel are also being monitored. The samples were sent via commercial shipping companies, but the Pentagon says there is "no known risk to the general public."

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has blocked an Arkansas law that bans abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The case was filed by two doctors on their own and their patients' behalf.

The court's ruling notes:

"By banning abortions after 12 weeks' gestation, the Act prohibits women from making the ultimate decision to terminate a pregnancy at a point before viability. Because the State made no attempt to refute the plaintiffs' assertions of fact, the district court's summary judgment order must be affirmed."

Tripling a penalty that was announced this spring, Penn State has shut down the school's Kappa Delta Rho fraternity chapter for three years, after an inquiry over a Facebook group page that collected pictures of nude women also uncovered other transgressions.

British science-fiction and fantasy writer Tanith Lee has died, according to her publisher. Lee, 67, was a prolific author who also worked in radio and television; her dozens of books include Don't Bite The Sun and Death's Master -- the latter of which was part of her popular Flat Earth series.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will not lift a hold that has stalled President Obama's plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The president sought to give temporary protection to people who were brought to the U.S. as children, and to the parents of people who live in the U.S. legally.

The decision blocks an executive action the White House issued late last year and leaves in place a hold that was issued in February by District Judge Andrew Hanen in South Texas.

Update at 4:35 p.m. ET: White House Evaluating Options

It's believed to be the oldest pub in England — but now Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is facing a call to change its name. Citing modern society's compassion for the birds, the UK's People for Ethical Treatment of Animals suggests an alternate name: Ye Olde Clever Cocks.

From PETA:

More than 10 months after Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was detained on vaguely defined espionage charges, his trial began Tuesday in a closed court in Tehran. Rezaian is a citizen of both Iran and the U.S.

Noting the trial's start, Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency notes that Rezaian, 39, "is accused of espionage for the US government and activity against the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Saying that it tests parallel parking skills in other ways, Maryland's Motor Vehicle Administration is phasing out the portion of its test that has intimidated new drivers for generations.

Maryland is joining the list of states that have stopped making new drivers prove that they can maneuver a car into a parallel parking spot. Virginia, California and Florida are among those that have made the move.

A new batch of 6,500 words are now available to Scrabble players, after publishing house Collins updated its widely used Official Scrabble Words list Thursday. The list includes tech jargon and slang, such as pwn, twerk and shizzle.

Also added: aji (the pepper), coqui (the frog) and the more old-fashioned ixnay and zowee. (See a longer list at the bottom of this post.)

Citing the completion of a pretrial intervention program, a New Jersey judge has dismissed a felony assault charge that was filed against former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice over a now-infamous incident in which Rice struck his then-fiancee in a casino elevator.

Rice hit Palmer during an argument while they were visiting Atlantic City, N.J., in February of 2014. A month later, he was indicted on a charge of third-degree aggravated assault. He then entered into a one-year pretrial program that would allow him to avoid a trial.

Update, 1:10 a.m. ET:

David Letterman approached his final, hour-plus of late-night TV on Wednesday with the same self-deprecation he displayed in the previous 6,027 episodes, but leavened the snark with heaps of nostalgia and praise.

Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, The Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS AG have agreed to plead guilty to felony charges and pay billions in criminal fines, the Department of Justice says. The offenses range from manipulating the market price of U.S. dollars and euros to rigging interest rates.

A Texas hunter who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt a rare black rhino in Namibia has killed the animal. The hunt has drawn controversy and spurred debate over the best way to manage endangered wildlife.

Corey Knowlton won an auction last January for a hunting permit that would allow him to kill a black rhino weighing around 3,000 pounds.

The new American Fitness Index is out, with some good news and bad news. Five metro areas fell five or more slots; nine others rose by five or more places. The rankings tally several criteria, from rates of smoking, diabetes and obesity to access to parks.

Hitting a new all-time high, 60 percent of Americans say they believe marriage between same-sex couples should be recognized by law, with the same rights and privileges as traditional marriages, according to the latest Gallup poll.

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