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Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and producer on the Newsdesk, in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

Chappell's work at NPR has ranged from being the site's first full-time homepage editor to being the lead writer and editor for online coverage of several Olympic Games, from London 2012 to Pyeongchang 2018. 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 the past, Chappell 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.

In 2009, Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that redesigned NPR's web site. One year later, NPR.org 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, Chappell was part of 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 on major events.

Chappell's work for CNN included editing digital video and producing web stories for SI.com. He also edited and produced 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, Chappell attended graduate school for English Literature at the University of South Carolina.

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.

A crowd of demonstrators converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall on Sunday morning, protesting the government shutdown that has included blocking full access to monuments in Washington.

The "Million Vet March," protest was organized by groups including the Brats for Veterans Advocacy, which called on military veterans and others to march against the barricading of the memorial, which its website calls "a despicable act of cowardice."

Cyclist Jacob Landis, who rode more than 10,000 miles on his bike this year to raise money for cochlear implants, will miss out on the final miles of his ride after being hit by a truck. Landis had planned to ride his bike to every Major League Baseball stadium this season. Despite the crash, he says he'll still go to the final game on his schedule.

LinkedIn

The professional connections site LinkedIn is launching a new section of its social network Monday: University Pages targets younger users who want to connect with colleges. More than 200 schools now have profile pages, according to LinkedIn. As part of the new effort, the company also dropped its minimum age to 14 in the U.S.

A 19-year Army veteran was given a summons and told to leave the oceanside boardwalk in North Wildwood, N.J., Thursday, after a police officer refused to accept the presence of the veteran's service dog. Jared Goering says it was the first vacation for him and his wife, Sally, in years.

Vacationers staying in a luxury villa in central Florida awoke to creaking and crashing sounds Sunday night, as the three-story building they were staying in began to collapse. A large portion of the structure was pulled into a sinkhole at the Summer Bay Resort near Disney World. It seems the process was slow enough that it allowed everyone in the building to get out safely.

By suspending New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez for 211 regular-season games — through the end of the 2014 regular season — Major League Baseball stopped short of the lifetime ban that had been threatened.

The number of furlough days for civilian workers at the Department of Defense may be cut nearly in half, according to The Associated Press, a result of Pentagon officials finding hundreds of millions of dollars in savings within their current budgets.

A series of fiery explosions ravaged a Blue Rhino propane gas plant in central Florida's Lake County late Monday night, forcing nearby residents to be evacuated. The detonations reportedly lasted for some 30 minutes and were heard as far as 10 miles away. A fire at the plant raged into the early morning hours.

Update at 11:10 a.m. ET: Work Continues; No Sign Of Sabotage

One of the two Chinese teenagers who died in the crash-landing of an Asiana Airlines flight Saturday was hit by a firetruck responding to the scene on the runway, police officials in San Francisco said Friday. But it remains uncertain if that accident is what killed the girl.

The girl, Ye Meng Yuan, 16, was planning to visit Stanford University and attend a summer camp at a Christian school, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The two main pilots on Asiana Airlines Flight 214, the jetliner that crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, had each gotten eight hours of sleep the night before their trip to San Francisco, says the National Transportation Safety Board.

The agency's chief, Deborah Hersman, provided that information and other updates to the media and the public on the investigation into the crash that killed two passengers and injured dozens.

Here are details from today's briefing:

Appearing in the same Boston federal courtroom as many of the victims of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to 30 counts Wednesday, during an arraignment hearing.

Three pilots, all of them with extensive flying experience, were in the cockpit of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 when it crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport Saturday, says National Transportation Safety Board Chair Deborah Hersman.

Police in a small town in Quebec, Canada, where a runaway freight train holding crude oil caused a massive explosion, say they have found the bodies of eight more victims, bringing the death toll in Saturday's incident to 13. The authorities say dozens of people are still unaccounted for.

Three seconds before it struck the ground Saturday, the speed of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, a Boeing 777, was 103 knots — the lowest measured by its data recorders, and far below the target speed of 137 knots, says National Transportation Board Chairman Deborah Hersman.

The crash-landing at San Francisco International Airport left two passengers dead and more than 180 people injured, as Mark reported for The Two-Way this morning.

Not many children write letters to government entities, we would think. But a boy's letter to NASA is making waves and softening hearts on the Internet today.

"Dear NASA," the letter begins. "My name is Dexter I heard that you are sending 2 people to Mars and I would like to come but I'm 7." The handwritten note, in which Dexter asks for advice about becoming an astronaut, got a full response from NASA, along with some stickers and posters.

Update at 5:54 p.m.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 tried to abort its landing and come in for another try just 1 1/2 seconds before it crashed Saturday at San Francisco airport, killing two people and injuring dozens of others.

That was the information gleaned from the jetliner's cockpit voice recorder, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board said at a Sunday news conference. NTSB chief Deborah Hersman also said about seven seconds prior to impact, there was a call to increase speed.

Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping and raping three women while he held them prisoner in his house for about 10 years, has been declared mentally competent to stand trial. The finding comes one week after a Cleveland judge ordered Castro to undergo an evaluation.

The results of that analysis were presented at a court hearing this morning.

NASA is sending a reliable servant into a retirement that will end with a fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere in about 65 years. That's the fate that awaits the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, the "galaxy hunter" space telescope whose original 29-month mission was extended to more than 10 years.

Along the way, the orbiting system, known as GALEX, helped scientists study how galaxies and stars are born, and how they change over time.

In what is being called the deadliest U.S. wildfire in at least 30 years, an out-of-control blaze trapped and killed 19 firefighters Sunday in central Arizona. They had been forced to use temporary shelters in an attempt to survive.

All of those killed were part of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite group based in Prescott, Ariz., that uses rigorous training to prepare for fighting wildfires. They are frequently deployed to the front lines of firefighting efforts against such blazes.

Update at 6:04 p.m. ET: Firefighters Identified

A jury has been settled upon in the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The six-member panel is made up entirely of female jurors; five of them are white women, according to reports.

Attorneys in the trial finished questioning potential jurors around mid-day Thursday; they are also selecting four alternate jurors for the trial.

Update at 7 p.m. ET: Jury Sworn In:

The National Hurricane Center has issued coastal warnings in the Gulf of Mexico regarding Tropical Storm Barry. The second named storm of the 2013 hurricane season, Barry is currently in the southwest corner of the gulf; it is expected to make landfall in Mexico Thursday morning.

The center says an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft determined Wednesday that the storm, formerly called Tropical Depression Two, had strengthened. Barry is currently about 75 miles east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico.

Jeb Bush has created a stir with remarks he made during a speech on immigration, in which he said that women who immigrate to America are more fertile than women who are born in the country.

"Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans, over the last 20 years," Bush said. "Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population. Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity."

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