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.

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.

We're learning more about the circumstances around Sunday's gunfight between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, that left nine people dead and sent 18 to the hospital. At least 170 people were arrested after the fracas broke out at a Twin Peaks restaurant.

The crime drew international headlines for its ingenious design and massive take. But now Scotland Yard says its "Flying Squad" has arrested seven men, ages 48 to 76, over the Hatton Garden theft that was reportedly one of the richest heists in Britain's history.

The arrests took place Tuesday, when more than 200 officers raided 12 addresses in north London and Kent, police say. They recovered some of the heist's haul, which has been difficult to estimate (but has been placed at up to $300 million).

The cartoonist who drew the image of the Prophet Muhammad that appeared on the comeback issue of Charlie Hebdo is leaving the satirical magazine, citing stress and a lack of inspiration. The cartoonist, Luz, was one of the few artists who survived January's attack on the magazine's office in Paris.

"I will no longer be Charlie Hebdo, but I will always be Charlie," said Luz.

In a complicated legal battle that touches on questions of free speech, copyright law and personal safety, a federal appeals court has overturned an order that had forced the Google-owned YouTube to remove an anti-Muslim video from its website last year.

In a ruling that will trigger the loss of millions of dollars in tax revenue and is likely to affect many other states, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down Maryland's practice of double-taxing residents' income earned in other states.

The case challenged Maryland's refusal to grant residents who paid income tax on money earned in other states a credit against that amount when they tally up the taxes they owe to their home counties (and some cities). The state allows the credit to be applied only against the state taxes; county income taxes can be as high as 3.2 percent.

The world of climbing lost a daring innovator Saturday when Dean Potter, 46, died during a wingsuit flight from Yosemite National Park's Taft Point. Potter was killed along with Graham Hunt, 29, as they attempted to soar above Yosemite Valley and El Capitan.

The pair attempted their wingsuit flight on Saturday around dusk — a time that National Geographic says many athletes choose for BASE jumping, which is illegal in all of America's national parks. They were found Sunday by a search and rescue helicopter.

Over decades of studying the oceans' fishes, some species have been found to have partial warmbloodedness. But scientists say the opah, or moonfish, circulates heated blood — and puts it to a competitive advantage.

Days after a stinging report and punishment was announced by the NFL over "deflategate," the New England Patriots have elaborated on their response, publishing its own scientific findings and version of events online.

On Monday, the NFL suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games, fined the Patriots $1 million and stripped the team of a first-round draft pick over the findings in the report by attorney Ted Wells' investigative team.

After 26 seasons of giving life to nincompoops, do-gooders, and even God, actor Harry Shearer has announced he'll be leaving The Simpsons. A stalwart of the show, Shearer has voiced central characters such as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Reverend Lovejoy and Principal Seymour Skinner.

In a tweet sent in the wee hours of Thursday, Shearer said he was leaving "because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve a measure that would, among other things, end the mass collection of Americans' phone data.

The USA Freedom Act extends many parts of the 2001 USA Patriot Act, which expires June 1. The measure's fate in the Senate is less likely.

One day after Senate Democrats blocked the "fast-track" trade authority bill that has been championed by both President Obama and Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says an agreement has been reached to move forward.

The solution calls for separate votes on bills that Democrats had wanted to move as a single package on the floor, according to NPR's Ailsa Chang. Ailsa says the Senate will vote on a customs enforcement bill that includes Sen. Charles Schumer's safeguards aimed at reducing currency manipulation.

The Women on 20s campaign, which seeks to put a female face on the $20 bill, has announced a winner: Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave whose ingenuity and courage led other captives to freedom.

Tubman narrowly edged Eleanor Roosevelt, finishing with 118,328 votes to Roosevelt's 111,227, according to Women on 20s. More than 600,000 votes were cast over 10 weeks, including more than 350,000 in the final round that began on April 5.

Early on, Roosevelt had led Tubman by nearly 15,000 votes, but the final round brought a reversal.

Emergency officials in Nepal say at least 76 people have died in Tuesday's earthquake, which hit as the small country is still coping with a prior quake that killed more than 8,000. A U.S. Marine helicopter that had been aiding relief efforts remains missing.

On April 25, a magnitude-7.8 temblor devastated swaths of Nepal. The most recent quake was measured at 7.3, followed by a 6.3 quake half an hour later. Aftershocks continued to strike Wednesday, including at least two that hit shortly after noon, each around magnitude-5.

Instead of being destroyed or altered, the notoriously scary statue of Lucille Ball that graces her hometown in New York will be moved to a new National Comedy Center that's being built nearby.

For the second-straight year, Washington and Minnesota took the top two spots on an annual list of states that are best for cyclists. But the League of American Bicyclists' rankings also show that no state scored higher than 67 points out of 100.

Last on the list was Alabama, which has occupied the No. 50 slot in four of the past eight rankings. The state earned a score of 12.3 points.

For the third time this year, a blogger has died after a brutal attack on a street in Bangladesh. The writer Ananta Bijoy Das was killed by men wielding machetes. He wrote for the same blog founded by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American who died in a similar attack in February.

The Obama administration has given conditional approval to Shell Oil's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean this summer. The company wants to resume drilling in the Chukchi Sea off northwestern Alaska; it broke off that effort in 2012 because of safety problems.

Monday's news is a new sign that Shell could soon recoup some of the several billion dollars it has spent on federal leases and other preparations in recent years.

From Alaska's Aleutian Islands, KUCB's Annie Ropeik reports:

Days after a lengthy report found it was "more probable than not" that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knew of rule-breaking, the NFL has issued its punishment: a four-game suspension for Brady and a $1 million fine for the Patriots.

Brady will sit out the first four games of the 2015 regular season without pay, the NFL says, citing "conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL."

A roadway shooting in Central Florida occurred Monday that involved George Zimmerman, police confirm. Zimmerman reportedly suffered minor injuries from shattered glass after a bullet was fired into his car's passenger window. Early reports indicated that Zimmerman had been shot; we're not seeing evidence of that.

Update at 4:10 p.m. ET: Police Say Both Parties Reported Shooting

A North Carolina jury has rejected a $750,000 civil lawsuit filed by Lt. Matthew Kohr of the Raleigh Police Department, who said a Starbucks store had given him a large cup of hot coffee with an unsecured lid.

Last week, Kohr's attorney said the free cup of coffee spilled onto the officer's lap because it didn't have a properly attached lid or an insulating cardboard sleeve. Evidence submitted in court included photos showing red burn marks.

A new glimpse of what the universe looked like in its youth has been captured, thanks to researchers who determined that light from the galaxy known as EGS-zs8-1 has spent more than 13 billion years traveling to reach us here on Earth.

The blue galaxy, which was named for its coloration after its initial discovery by the Hubble telescope, was studied by a team of astronomers based at Yale University and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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