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.

A Florida law that sets an IQ test score of 70 as a minimum in determining who's eligible for the death penalty is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court says. In a reversal of a state court's decision, the justices say Florida's rule ignores norms in the psychiatric profession. The opinion also cites the Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.

"Florida set a hard-line rule that the death penalty could not be imposed on convicted felons whose IQ is 70 or below," NPR's Washington desk says in its summary of the case.

An all-new meteor shower makes its debut tonight, and astronomers say it could put on a show starting as early as 10:30 p.m. ET Friday and peaking early Saturday. Called the Camelopardalids, the shower is named after the giraffe constellation. It's expected to be visible in nearly all of the U.S., if skies are clear.

"No one has seen it before," NASA says, "but the shower could put on a show that would rival the prolific Perseid meteor shower in August."

Media industry veteran Jarl Mohn will be NPR's new CEO, the organization's board of directors has announced.

Mohn, 62, currently sits on the board of directors at several media organizations, including Scripps Networks Interactive and Web analytics company ComScore. He is also on the boards of KPCC Southern California Public Radio and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Announcing the hire, Kit Jensen, who chairs NPR's board of directors, said Mohn has "an ability to find nuanced and new ideas." He is slated to start work at NPR on July 1.

Easter Sunday is a busy time for many Christian churches. And for one Florida church, "busy" only begins to describe it. The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe has no permanent members, but it will host tens of thousands of worshippers today.

Cash prizes await "citizen scientists" who can improve algorithms that help NASA find and identify asteroids in our solar system, the agency says. A contest to find more asteroids begins next week, in what NASA calls an attempt to crowdsource innovation.

The Associated Press

The Conservative Political Action Conference ended in Washington Saturday, after giving Sen. Rand Paul a second consecutive victory in the presidential straw poll that's seen as an indicator of how Republicans see their leaders.

From :

"The Kentucky senator received 31 percent, far ahead of second place Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who received 11 percent. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson finished third with 9 percent, ahead of New Jersey Gov.  Chris Christie, who received 8 percent.

A mistrial was declared on Saturday in the first-degree murder charge of Michael Dunn after a Florida jury failed to come to an agreement. The jury did find Dunn guilty on four lesser charges, including three counts of attempted second-degree murder in the 2012 killing of a teenager in a Jacksonville gas station parking lot.

Police say Dunn shot and killed an unarmed man, Jordan Davis, 17, after an argument broke out over loud music coming from Davis' car. Dunn had claimed he acted after being threatened.

David Beckham's career in American soccer isn't over, despite his recent retirement from the field. Beckham confirmed Wednesday that he will create a Major League Soccer expansion team in Miami. Details about the team's stadium and start date are still being worked out.

A Florida vacation got off to an odd start for Judith Fleissig, 58, of Rochester, N.Y., when she and her daughter realized the car they'd rented had an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. More oddness followed: The gun was left there by the wife of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, police say.

Saying that "zero tolerance" discipline policies at U.S. schools are unfairly applied "all too often," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is urging officials to rethink that approach. The Obama administration issued voluntary guidelines today that call for more training for teachers and more clarity in defining security problems.

The police chief of Miami Gardens is resigning, weeks after allegations arose that his officers stopped and searched customers of a convenience store as a matter of routine. Charges of racial profiling and civil rights abuses were bolstered by videos that showed police frisking and arresting people.

A U.S. judge says American Airlines can exit bankruptcy and join forces with US Airways Group, all but ensuring that their merger can take place within weeks. Wednesday's bankruptcy court ruling was one of the final hurdles for a huge merger that's been in the works for more than a year.

The ruling by Judge Sean Lane comes months after he gave his preliminary approval to the plan. The two companies are now planning to finalize their merger on Dec. 9, when they would combine to create the world's largest airline.

Dozens of Haitians have died in a desperate attempt to reach the Bahamas, after their crowded 40-foot sloop capsized. Deployed from Florida, Coast Guard crews scrambled to work with Bahamian forces to rescue more than 100 survivors Tuesday. The Coast Guard says the craft ran aground in the Bahamas' Exuma Cays.

The U.S. lost an average of 80,000 acres of coastal wetlands from 2004 to 2009, according to the latest data published by federal agencies. More than 70 percent of the estimated loss came in the Gulf of Mexico; nationwide, most of the loss was blamed on development that incurred on freshwater wetlands.

"The losses of these vital wetlands were 25 percent greater than during the previous six years," NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports for our Newscast unit. She also notes that the loss equals "about seven football fields every hour."

Florida officials have dropped the charges against two girls who had been accused of bullying Rebecca Sedwick, a 12-year-old who jumped to her death after being taunted and bullied online. Police say the girls will receive counseling.

The legal case began in September, when Sedwick, a seventh-grader in Lakeland, killed herself. Police said that two of her schoolmates, one 14 years old and one who recently turned 13, were the "primary harassers" in a group of girls that bullied Sedwick for months before her death. They were arrested last month and placed under house arrest.

An American man who hijacked a plane to Cuba nearly 30 years ago will be in a U.S. court Thursday. William Potts returned from Cuba on Wednesday, saying he wanted to resolve lingering legal issues around his actions. He was arrested immediately.

Potts has previously expressed his desire to return to the U.S. He did so this week after taking a cab to the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba, which then sent him to Miami. Potts has said he hopes his time served in a Cuban prison will be taken into account by U.S. authorities.

The Miami Dolphins have suspended a veteran player indefinitely, after he allegedly sent threatening messages that included racial slurs to a younger teammate. The NFL is investigating what is being called a case of hazing and harassment.

Veteran guard Richie Incognito is alleged to have left intimidating messages and texts on the phone of second-year offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, who left the team last week. The Dolphins had not previously provided details to explain Martin's absence.

In a U.N. vote that has become something of a tradition, only one country agreed with the United States that its embargo of Cuba should continue. The final count in the General Assembly vote was 188-2.

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports for our Newscast unit:

"For the 22nd year in a row, the U.N. General Assembly approved a mainly symbolic resolution that condemns the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. This year's tally was 188-2, with three abstentions. Only Israel sided with the U.S. this time.

The University of Miami "lacked institutional control" and didn't notice multiple violations by a booster who for years gave cash and gifts to athletes, the NCAA said. But the organization says the school's football team can play in the postseason, stopping short of the harshest punishment available.

The standard by which a person is judged to be mentally competent enough to face execution for a crime will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed Monday to hear a Florida case revolving around that issue.

The capital punishment case, Hall, Freddie L. v. Fla., centers on the standard for judging mental disability and how state officials arrive at that judgment. The case will be argued in Washington early in 2014.

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