Bill Chappell

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

Chappell's work for NPR includes being the lead writer for online coverage of several Olympic Games, from London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 to Pyeongchang in 2018 – stints that also included posting numerous videos and photos to NPR's Instagram and other branded accounts. He has also previously been NPR.org's homepage editor.

Chappell established the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR's website; his assignments also include being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road. Chappell has coordinated special digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, in addition to editing the rundown of All Things Considered. He also frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as The Salt.

At NPR, Chappell has trained both digital and radio staff to tell compelling stories, promoting more collaboration between departments and desks.

Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that performed one of NPR's largest website redesigns. One year later, NPR.org won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

Prior to joining NPR, Chappell was part of the Assignment Desk at CNN International, working with reporters in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Chappell also edited and produced stories for CNN.com's features division, before moving on to edit video and produce stories for Sports Illustrated's website.

Early in his career, Chappell wrote about movies, restaurants, and music for alternative weeklies, in addition to his first job: editing the police blotter.

Workers dismantled a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Boston Tuesday, after the city agreed with protesters who say the memorial is demeaning and lacks proper context. The statue depicts Lincoln holding his hand over a kneeling Black man — a figure modeled on Archer Alexander, the last man captured under the Fugitive Slave Act.

A Boeing 737 Max carried paying passengers on a U.S. flight Tuesday for the first time since March 2019 as American Airlines put the aircraft back in service. The planes had been grounded worldwide after two deadly crashes highlighted safety problems.

American Flight 718 took off from Miami around 10:40 a.m., heading to New York's LaGuardia Airport, according to the aviation tracking site Flightradar24.com. The plane landed ahead of schedule, shortly after 1 p.m.

French designer Pierre Cardin, who extended his brand far beyond the fashion world, has died at age 98. The son of Italian immigrants worked with luminaries such as filmmaker Jean Cocteau and designer Christian Dior before launching his own fashion house, drawing on his love for futuristic design.

Cardin's family announced his death to Agence France-Presse on Tuesday. The French Académie des Beaux-Arts also issued several statements mourning his passing.

Dr. James Phillips, the Walter Reed physician who criticized President Trump's decision to greet supporters outside the facility where he was being treated for COVID-19, has worked his last shift at the hospital. "I stand by my words, and I regret nothing," Phillips wrote on Twitter.

Updated 3:15 p.m. ET

Saudi Arabia's terrorism court has sentenced Loujain al-Hathloul, the activist who led the push to allow Saudi women to drive, to nearly six years in prison. Hathloul's case has drawn widespread scrutiny since her arrest in the spring of 2018.

Mourning and celebrating; coping and distancing: 2020 has been a year of collective emotional dissonance. Even as the worst public health crisis in memory changed our lives, it also made us cherish bright moments where we found them.

We watched a high-stakes election play out — and sometimes we just wanted a distraction from it all.

Here are the NPR stories that hit home in 2020. They examine the complicated reality of life during a pandemic. They highlight moments of grace, surprise and persistence — and sometimes, stark disagreement.

Pfizer is pushing back on the Trump administration's suggestion that the company is having trouble producing its COVID-19 vaccine, saying it's ready to ship millions more doses – once the government asks for them. As the company spoke out, several states said their vaccine allocations for next week have been sharply reduced.

Here's what the key players are saying about a complicated situation:

What Pfizer says

A massive computer breach allowed hackers to spend months exploring numerous U.S. government networks and private companies' systems around the world. Industry experts say a country mounted the complex hack — and government officials say Russia is responsible.

The hackers attached their malware to a software update from SolarWinds, a company based in Austin, Texas. Many federal agencies and thousands of companies worldwide use SolarWinds' Orion software to monitor their computer networks.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Joe Biden on his win in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, becoming one of the last world leaders to do so. Hours afterward, other leaders who had held off in recognizing Biden's victory — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — also congratulated Biden.

At least 55 immunization sites across the U.S. received doses of Pfizer and BioNTech's long-awaited vaccine Monday morning, says Army Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed. The effort to get the vaccine into medical professionals' hands, he said, has gone "incredibly well."

Perna credited a number of people for the success, from volunteers who helped to test the vaccine to those who worked over the weekend to prepare, ship and deliver the doses, which must be stored at very cold temperatures to remain viable.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

The first people in the U.S. are receiving vaccination shots against COVID-19 on Monday, as U.S. health workers started administering the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The first widely publicized vaccination took place in New York City, shortly after 9 a.m. ET. The event was live-streamed and promoted by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said, "The vaccine only works if the American people take it."

Updated at 7:26 pm. ET

Hours after a Wisconsin lower court rejected another of President Trump's attempts to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden on Friday, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the case over the weekend.

Argentina's Chamber of Deputies approved a bill making abortion legal early on Friday, in a much-debated vote that many in the predominantly Roman Catholic country are describing as historic. The bill now heads to the Senate.

"Today we write a new chapter in history," Argentina's Women, Genders and Diversity Minister Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta tweeted after the approval of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Bill.

Boeing's 737 Max jet is flying commercial routes once again, as Brazil's Gol Airlines brought the jetliner back into service Wednesday. The worldwide fleet of 737 Max planes has been grounded since March 2019, after two deadly crashes raised concerns over the aircraft's safety and airworthiness.

The death of Casey Goodson, a Black man killed Friday by a Franklin County sheriff's deputy in Columbus, Ohio, has been ruled a homicide, according to a statement from Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz.

The preliminary findings come five days after Goodson, 23, was shot under disputed circumstances. Law enforcement officials said a sheriff's deputy saw Goodson driving with a gun, but have not said Goodson was armed when he was shot. Goodson's family says he was shot outside his house.

It was supposed to be a "cruise to nowhere," a chance for travelers to enjoy ornate buffets and onboard skydiving simulations, taking in the sea air as they follow COVID-19 safety precautions. Then, Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas was forced to return to port early after a passenger tested positive for the coronavirus.

Updated at 7:59 p.m. ET

The Army is punishing 14 leaders at Fort Hood, relieving some high-ranking officers of duty and suspending other leaders after a review sparked by the killing of Spc. Vanessa Guillén.

Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy cited profound problems at the base, including a command climate that was "permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault."

Florida law enforcement agents searched the home of former state data scientist Rebekah Jones on Monday, entering her house with weapons drawn as they carried out a warrant as part of an investigation into an unauthorized message that was sent on a state communications system.

"At 8:30 am this morning, state police came into my house and took all my hardware and tech," Jones said via Twitter. She added, "They were serving a warrant on my computer after DOH filed a complaint."

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is ending production of its famous catalog, saying the thick compendium of affordable sofas, knickknacks and housewares will leave "a phenomenal 70-year legacy."

The catalog has given people around the world a chance to reimagine their surroundings, featuring everything from new shelves and chairs to an entirely revamped kitchen.

"For both customers and co-workers, the IKEA Catalog is a publication that brings a lot of emotions, memories and joy," said Konrad Grüss, managing director of Inter IKEA Systems B.V. — the worldwide Ikea franchiser.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says "dozens" of armed protesters descended on her home Saturday night, using megaphones to disrupt what had been a quiet evening with her young son. It was meant to intimidate her, Benson said — adding that it didn't work.

The crowd was made up of people angry over President Trump's election loss. They shouted and chanted slogans outside Benson's house in a Detroit neighborhood, echoing conspiracy theories about the Nov. 3 voting process.

The U.K. will administer its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, government and health officials say, raising hopes that the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech could help them tame the coronavirus.

"We're looking forward to the race starting on Tuesday," Chris Hopson, CEO of the U.K.'s NHS Providers, said Friday in an interview with the BBC. His organization represents hospitals and medical service groups.

Millions of Americans who are expected to receive the new COVID-19 vaccinations in coming months will need to take two doses of the drug – and the U.S. government says it will issue a vaccine card and use other tools to help people follow through with their immunizations.

Gitanjali Rao, a Colorado teenager who invented a mobile device to test for lead in drinking water, is Time's Kid of the Year for 2020. The magazine announced the award Thursday, citing Rao's ability to apply scientific ideas to real-world problems — and her desire to motivate other kids to take up their own causes.

Campbell County, Va., is taking a stand against Gov. Ralph Northam's COVID-19 restrictions as its Board of Supervisors endorsed a measure Tuesday night that calls on county agencies not to enforce Northam's crowd-size limits and other orders.

The U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to reclassify cannabis Wednesday, taking it off the strict Schedule IV list that includes dangerous and highly addictive drugs such as heroin. The U.N. still deems cannabis a controlled substance. But the move, which the U.S. supported, could ease restrictions on research into marijuana's therapeutic use.

Updated on Dec. 4 at 11:30 a.m. ET

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has collapsed, after weeks of concern from scientists over the fate of what was once the world's largest single-dish radio telescope. Arecibo's 900-ton equipment platform, suspended some 500 feet above the dish, fell overnight after the last of its healthy support cables failed to keep it in place.

No injuries were reported, according to the National Science Foundation, which oversees the renowned research facility.

New coronavirus vaccines will help the world's economy bounce back in 2021, but the gains will depend on how the vaccines are distributed, among other factors, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says.

In its new projection, the group says global GDP should rise by 4.2% next year, after falling 4.2% in 2020.

China is deepening its spat with Australia, refusing to apologize after a government official posted an altered image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to a young Afghan boy's throat. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had asked for an apology; instead, a Chinese government representative excoriated Australia for its troops' alleged brutality in Afghanistan.

New Zealand's government has filed charges over the volcano eruption that killed 22 people on White Island last year, saying operators that brought tourists to see the country's most active volcano failed to follow health and safety rules.

Officials say 47 people were on the island when the volcano erupted in the early afternoon of Dec. 9, sending a plume of ash, toxic gas and rocks some 12,000 feet into the sky. Rescue crews rushed to find survivors, and recovery teams spent roughly two weeks trying to find victims.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito says the COVID-19 pandemic has brought "previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty," warning of an important shift in the views of essential rights on several fronts, from religious freedom to free speech.

Alito's remarks came Thursday in a keynote speech at the Federalist Society's annual National Lawyers Convention, which is being held virtually this week. The event's theme is to examine how the coronavirus is affecting the rule of law.

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