David Schaper

David Schaper is a NPR National Desk reporter based in Chicago.

In this role, he covers news in Chicago and around the Midwest. Additionally he reports on a broad range of important social, cultural, political, and business issues in the region.

The range of Schaper's reporting has included profiles of service members killed in Iraq, and members of a reserve unit returning home to Wisconsin. He produced reports on the important political issues in key Midwest battleground states, education issues related to "No Child Left Behind," the bankruptcy of United Airlines as well as other aviation and transportation issues, and the devastation left by tornadoes, storms, blizzards, and floods in the Midwest.

Prior to joining NPR, Schaper spent nine years working as an award-winning reporter and editor for Chicago Public Radio's WBEZ-FM. For three years he covered education issues, reporting in-depth on the problems, financial and otherwise, plaguing Chicago's public schools.

In 1996, Schaper was named assistant news editor, managing the station's daily news coverage and editing a staff of six. He continued general assignment reporting, covering breaking news, politics, transportation, housing, sports, and business.

When he left WBEZ, Schaper was the station's political reporter, editor, and a frequent fill-in news anchor and program host. Additionally, he served as a frequent guest panelist on public television's Chicago Tonight and Chicago Week in Review.

Since beginning his career at Wisconsin Public Radio's WLSU-FM, Schaper worked in Chicago as a writer and editor for WBBM-AM and as a reporter and anchor for WXRT-FM. He worked at commercial stations WMAY-AM in Springfield, IL; and WIZM-AM and FM in La Crosse, WI; and at public stations WSSU-FM (now WUIS) and WDCB-FM in in Illinois.

Schaper earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and an Master of Arts from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

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Around the Nation
1:02 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Alleged $30M Theft By Comptroller Stuns Ill. City

This November 2011 photo provided by The American Quarter Horse Journal shows Rita Crundwell of Dixon, Ill., at the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. FBI agents arrested Crundwell, the Dixon comptroller, on charges she misappropriated more than $30 million since 2006 to finance a lavish lifestyle.
AP

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 8:52 am

The top financial official for the small city of Dixon, Ill., is accused of stealing more than $30 million from city coffers over the past six years. It's a staggering amount of money for the city of just 15,000 residents in northwest Illinois, and federal prosecutors allege she used the funds to finance a lavish lifestyle that included horse farms and a $2 million luxury motor home.

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Negative Political Ads Are Annoying But Effective

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Ask almost anyone about negative political ads, you'll likely get a negative response. They're widely disliked, yet campaigns keep airing them over and over and over again. That's especially true right now in the state of Wisconsin, ahead of next week's Republican primary.

NPR's David Schaper reports that as hated as these ads are, they are seen as effective.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Flip on the TV anywhere in Wisconsin this week and it won't be long until you hear this...

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Kinzinger, Jackson Jr. Among Ill. Primary Winners

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Mitt Romney won the Illinois Republican primary convincingly yesterday, as we've been reporting elsewhere in the program. Illinois voters were not just voting for presidential candidates, though, there were congressional primaries as well. Redistricting made things very interesting. Two Republican incumbents had to run against one another, and a high-profile Democratic incumbent got a challenge from a former colleague. NPR's David Schaper runs down the results.

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Election 2012
5:18 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

In Illinois, Candidates Make A Final Delegate Dash

Standing in front of a statue of Ronald Reagan on horseback, Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally Monday in Dixon, Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 12:04 am

It's another furious dash to the finish line as delegate-rich Illinois holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is looking to increase his delegate lead. And he's still searching for that decisive win over his main rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

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Election 2012
5:55 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Incumbents Face Off In Illinois After Redistricting

Rep. Don Manzullo, a 10-term veteran, campaigns in Belvidere, Ill., on March 5.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 11:20 pm

Redistricting is forcing a handful of congressional incumbents of the same party to run against each other in primaries. On March 6, Rep. Marcy Kaptur defeated fellow liberal Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Ohio.

And next Tuesday, two conservative Republicans square off in Illinois.

The scene is the newly drawn 16th Congressional District, which covers mostly rural territory in the northern part of the state, curving around the suburbs and exurbs of Chicago, from the Wisconsin border north of Rockford to the Indiana border east of Kankakee.

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Around the Nation
12:01 am
Tue March 6, 2012

As Elkhart's Electric Dreams Fizzle, RVs Come Back

Clinton Lehman, who had been unemployed for nine months before being called back to work, assembles a recreation vehicle at the Jayco factory in Elkhart, Ind., in 2011.
Mira Oberman AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 12:13 pm

Elkhart, Ind., is known as the RV capital of the world. The city suffered badly when the recession hit and demand for recreational vehicles all but screeched to a halt. That's when local and state leaders started looking for ways to bolster the area's manufacturing industry.

The unemployment rate in the city along the Michigan border eventually soared to 20 percent — the highest in the nation at the time.

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Around the Nation
4:53 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Severe Storms Leave Nine Dead In Midwest

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 8:34 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Deadly tornadoes swept through the Midwest overnight and this morning, killing at least eight people. The storm system hammered parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky, where it still poses a threat.

As NPR's David Schaper reports, hardest hit is the small city of Harrisburg in southern Illinois.

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U.S.
5:50 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Families Suffer Through Chicago Morgue Backlog

Workers fill a pauper's grave at Homewood Memorial Gardens, south of Chicago, with remains from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, which is now catching up on its backlog of indigent burials.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 2, 2012 7:08 pm

Losing a loved one in any circumstance can be a painful experience, but for some families in Chicago, that pain is being compounded by what's been happening at the Cook County morgue in recent weeks. In the words of one observer, it's "a moral travesty."

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Business
6:03 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Sushi, Smoothies, Manicures: Walgreens Goes Upscale

Walgreens' new 27,000-square-foot downtown Chicago location has a wine collection of more than 700 bottles, including one that sells for $500. The company says its flagship store with a European market feel is meant to be a destination to distinguish the chain's brand.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 10:47 pm

Walk into a typical Walgreens, and see cosmetics, greeting cards, and candy and snack aisles. Not so at a new, huge version of the drugstore in the heart of Chicago's Loop.

At a new downtown Walgreens, customers can get a fruit smoothie while they wait for their prescription — or even a manicure. Walgreens opened the new upscale version of its drugstore Tuesday on State Street to try to distinguish itself from the competition.

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It's All Politics
3:03 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

In Final Pitch To Iowa Voters, Gingrich Stresses Experience

Gingrich with one of the many pieces of farm equipment he encountered on a last-minute campaign swing through Iowa. This tractor was on display at the Heartland Acres Agribition Center on Jan. 2 in Independence, Iowa.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Newt Gingrich is making his closing arguments to voters in the Mississippi River towns of Muscatine and Burlington in advance of Tuesday's Republican party caucuses and that argument boils down to this: Gingrich is better, smarter and more experienced than the rest.

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It's All Politics
10:58 am
Mon January 2, 2012

In Final Iowa Push, Once-Sunny Gingrich Says Romney 'Will Lie To You'

The Newt Gingrich campaign bus is rolling again Monday morning, leaving Waterloo, where the candidate spent the night and heading straight east to the small town of Independence. The venue? Heartland Acres Agribition Center, a modest-size exhibition hall for small, regional agribusiness conferences with a lot of interesting old farm implements on display, and a shop with some pretty cool toy tractors.

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Election 2012
4:00 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Gingrich Pushes Back Against Negative Ads

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 7:24 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Newt Gingrich says, when it comes to his campaigning, he has been conducting an experiment. The former House speaker says he's been running a positive campaign as he competes for the Republican nomination. And if voters who say they hate negative campaigning practice what they preach, Gingrich says he'll do better than expected in Iowa.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

But Gingrich also says he needs to set the record straight, and that means firing back at Mitt Romney.

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It's All Politics
12:26 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

At Romney Rally, Iowa's Moderate GOP 'Silent Majority' Voters Start Talking

A young Mitt Romney supporter holds yard signs Thursday at a campaign event at J's Homestyle Cooking in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 6:26 am

Another strong turnout this morning for Mitt Romney at a restaurant in Cedar Falls, though the small place wasn't quite as packed as yesterday's breakfast stop in Muscatine. Romney spent a lot of time shaking hands and posing for pictures with customers, supporters and restaurant staff, after he spoke for about 20 minutes. He usually takes a couple of questions from the crowd but did not today, preferring to spend more time than usual glad-handing.

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It's All Politics
8:58 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Romney Rolling In Iowa, With Large Crowds And Growing Optimism

Before the sun was even up here in Iowa this morning, the Mitt Romney campaign bus was rolling on its way to a stop at J's Homestyle Cooking in Cedar Falls.

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It's All Politics
6:13 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Romney Jabs Rival, But Says He'd Take A President Paul Over Obama Part 2

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took a swipe at GOP rival Ron Paul and his isolationist foreign policy positions while campaigning in Iowa Wednesday, but he later told reporters he would support the outspoken Texas congressman if he were the Republican Party nominee for president.

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It's All Politics
9:13 am
Wed December 28, 2011

In The Hunt For Votes, Romney Heads East To 2008 Iowa Stronghold

Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop Wednesday at Elly's Tea and Coffee in Muscatine, Iowa.
Chris Carlson Associated Press

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 10:18 am

On Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney was getting an early start to campaigning in eastern Iowa, meeting and greeting voters having breakfast or just getting a caffeine boost at Elly's Tea and Coffee in Muscatine.

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It's All Politics
8:55 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Immigration Emerges As Key Issue For Some Iowa Voters

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at a campaign event at Clark Electric Co-op on Dec. 27 in Osceola, Iowa. Perry's stance on immigration has troubled some Iowa voters.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 10:33 am

Campaign buses loaded with Republican presidential hopefuls and their entourages are rolling across Iowa as the candidates hope some face time with GOP voters will help boost their chances in the Jan. 3 caucuses.

The main issue for many Iowa voters is the economy. But there's a sleeper issue emerging: immigration reform.

Iowa's Hispanic population is surging and Republican candidates are struggling with how best to deal with voter concerns.

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Business
5:37 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Sears Considers Leaving Illinois For Better Tax Deal

Sears Holding Corp., parent company to Sears and Kmart, is considering a move from its corporate headquarters after a tax incentive package failed to pass the state House of Representatives. More than 6,000 employees work at the Hoffman Estates, Ill., campus.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 7:00 pm

Thousands of jobs are on the line in a competition between states over the corporate headquarters of Sears. Several states are offering tax incentive packages to try to lure the company away from Illinois, including one bid from Ohio that's worth up to $400 million.

The Sears Holding Corp., parent company to Sears and Kmart, says it is seriously considering the offer after Illinois lawmakers failed this week to approve a package of tax incentives aimed at keeping Sears and another corporate giant from leaving.

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Hard Times: A Journey Across America
12:01 am
Wed November 30, 2011

A Steel Town Looks At Its Future, And Sees Rebirth

The old Granite City Steel Mill is now owned and operated by US Steel.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Wed November 30, 2011 12:07 pm

Part of a monthlong series

The Great Recession has hit the industrial Midwest especially hard in recent years, from big cities to small factory towns. But now, in at least one small Illinois city, local leaders believe the worst is finally behind them.

Sitting across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis, Granite City, Ill., has certainly seen better days. In its downtown, there are more boarded-up and empty storefronts and vacant lots than there are businesses.

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Hard Times: A Journey Across America
12:01 am
Thu November 17, 2011

When Hard Times Means Leaving A Career For A Job

After a long job search, Alice Eastman, a once highly paid professional, now works at Target. "I've climbed to pretty much the top of the one ladder, and now I'm starting at the bottom rung of a different ladder. It's a job. It's not a career," she says.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 12:40 pm

Part of a monthlong series

Alice Eastman, a single mother living in Wheaton, Ill., is one of many Americans who, after losing her job, tried to make ends meet on unemployment while she hunted for a job in her field. Then after a long, fruitless search, she took a lower-paying job in retail.

Eastman had a pretty good job making $75,000 a year at the park district in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, heading up its Department of Natural Resources.

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Business
4:00 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Airline Prices Stay Up Despite Fewer Travelers

Originally published on Fri November 4, 2011 10:20 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The sluggish economy means fewer travelers will be heading home for Thanksgiving this year, although it hasn't brought down prices. And as NPR's David Schaper reports, those who do fly will still find their flights packed.

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Around the Nation
2:54 pm
Fri October 21, 2011

Chicago's 'Congestion Fee' Gets Chilly Reception

Motorists in Chicago navigate the morning rush hour as they make their way toward downtown.

Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 22, 2011 2:05 am

Chicago recently ranked as the city with the second-worst traffic congestion problem in the country, but it doesn't have a lot of money to invest in other transit options. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's solution? A $2 "congestion fee" on weekday parking in public lots and garages downtown.

Other cities have had some success with congestion pricing for parking, but some Chicagoans are skeptical of the plan.

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