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.

The number of babies born in the U.S. dropped by 4% in 2020 compared with the previous year, according to a new federal report released Wednesday. The general fertility rate was 55.8 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, reaching yet another record low, according to the provisional data.

"This is the sixth consecutive year that the number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, down an average of 2% per year, and the lowest number of births since 1979," the National Center for Health Statistics said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old, a decision that could come by some time early next week. The vaccine is currently authorized only for people age 16 and older.

A ruling should come "shortly," Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla told investors in a conference call Tuesday morning.

India has now reported more than 20 million coronavirus infections, including nearly 3.5 million people who are actively being treated for COVID-19. The country's health system is in a state of collapse as hospitals and clinics face dire shortages of beds and lifesaving supplies.

The number of children contracting COVID-19 in the U.S. is much lower than the record highs set at the start of the new year, but children now account for more than a fifth of new coronavirus cases in states that release data by age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. It's a statistic that may surprise many: Just one year ago, child COVID-19 cases made up only around 3% of the U.S. total.

The gates of Disneyland are opening again Friday to welcome customers for the first time since the resort was closed at the start of the global pandemic. Only California residents will be allowed to visit, and daily crowd sizes will be limited due to safety protocols.

"I can't wait to just be there and feel it and listen to the music and smell the churros," Robert Laird, a Disney megafan, said in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.

New York City, which one year ago was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, will "fully reopen" for business on July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. The announcement marks a stirring rebound for a city that lost more than 10,000 people in just the first month of the pandemic.

"We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open," de Blasio said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. Offices and theaters, he said, would be able to operate at "full strength."

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre's carefully cultivated image as a hunter and outdoorsman is taking a hit this week as a newly leaked video shows the longtime NRA leader repeatedly missing his mark during an elephant hunt. LaPierre's NRA bio prominently labels him "a skilled hunter."

Updated April 27, 2021 at 4:38 PM ET

Andrew Brown Jr. died from a fatal gunshot to the back of head, his relatives and family attorneys said Tuesday, citing the results of an independent autopsy. The finding bolsters the claim that Brown was "executed," the family said.

"It was a kill shot to the back of the head" that cost Brown his life, family attorney Ben Crump said Tuesday as his office released the results.

Fox News says a New York court should dismiss Smartmatic's $2.7 billon lawsuit against the cable TV network and some of its hosts, saying its coverage of bogus election-fraud claims is protected by the First Amendment. Fox also says the voting technology company hasn't backed up its allegations of "actual malice" related to its defamation claims.

Updated April 26, 2021 at 4:49 PM ET

Attorneys for Andrew Brown Jr.'s family said Monday they were frustrated only to be shown 20 seconds of body camera footage of sheriff's deputies shooting and killing Brown last week.

But what they did see amounted to an "execution," family attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter told reporters.

Sheriff's deputies shot and killed Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, while carrying out search and arrest warrants at his home Wednesday in Elizabeth City, N.C.

A special Pentagon panel is recommending a seismic shift in how the U.S. military handles sexual assault cases, saying independent judge advocates, not commanding officers, should decide whether to pursue legal charges in such cases.

Such a shift would run counter to years of military practice. The Pentagon has long resisted the idea of taking sexual assault cases outside of the normal chain of command.

Japan's central government has declared a third state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic with new restrictions imposed in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures. Local leaders requested the move as they face a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases.

The declaration comes as Tokyo prepares to host the Summer Olympics, slated to begin in July, and just before Japan enters one of its biggest holiday seasons, Golden Week, in late April.

LeVar Burton will host a week of Jeopardy! this summer, after nearly 250,000 people signed a petition backing the actor and director's long-held aspiration to try out for the job that was left vacant by Alex Trebek, who died last year.

"I am overjoyed, excited, and eager to be guest-hosting Jeopardy!" Burton said via Twitter, as he thanked the fans and supporters who helped propel him into the small group of guest hosts who are taking turns hosting the venerable game show.

The U.S. State Department has vastly expanded its "Do Not Travel list," issuing new Level 4 advisories for more than 115 countries and territories this week. The agency cites "ongoing risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

The U.S. Do Not Travel list now includes Canada, Mexico, Germany and the U.K. A Level 3 warning is in place for a smaller group of nations, such as China, Australia and Iceland. Japan is also on the Level 3 list, despite a worrying rise in new coronavirus cases there.

Columbus, Ohio, police have released the name of the officer who shot and killed 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant, saying officer Nicholas Reardon fired his weapon after police were called to the scene Tuesday afternoon due to a report of a disturbance.

In an update on Wednesday, Columbus police revealed more details about what transpired, including releasing 911 recordings and police videos of the shooting.

With Derek Chauvin found guilty of murder, attention now turns to his sentencing – and to the trial of three fellow former police officers who are accused of aiding and abetting Chauvin, who is white, in the killing of George Floyd, who was Black.

Tuesday's verdict is being hailed by activists who urge more accountability for police, particularly in officers' use of violent and deadly force against people of color.

When jurors report for duty each morning in Derek Chauvin's trial, they do so as a group, escorted into the courthouse building by members of the Hennepin County Sheriff's office using a private entrance. The building itself has been fortified — one of many extraordinary security measures for a high-profile murder trial that is playing out amid a pandemic.

European countries can legally require childhood vaccinations, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday. The decision covers preschool vaccinations for children, but it could also have an impact on the EU's battle to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compulsory vaccines can be seen as "necessary in a democratic society," the Strasbourg-based court said in its ruling, which came on a 16-1 vote.

Senior Special Agent James Reyerson of Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is testifying in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, in last May's death of George Floyd.

The BCA routinely investigates police use-of-force incidents in Minnesota. Chauvin is facing charges of second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter. Video footage from the scene showed Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd's neck area for more than nine minutes.

Major League Baseball's 2021 All-Star Game will be played in Colorado's Coors Field, the league says, after it canceled plans for Atlanta to host baseball's midseason centerpiece. The change came in response to Georgia's controversial new voting law, which the MLB says is against its values.

"Major League Baseball is grateful to the Rockies, the City of Denver and the State of Colorado for their support of this summer's All-Star Game," Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. said.

A secret recording of an opulent clandestine pop-up restaurant in a private Paris mansion, with patrons flouting mask mandates, has sparked outrage and a police inquiry in France. The high-priced menu promises Champagne and foie gras; in the footage, a man tells a new visitor, "Once you pass through the door, there's no more COVID."

Paris chief prosecutor Rémy Heitz has ordered the judicial police's Brigade for Repression of Personal Delinquency to investigate the underground dinners, the prosecutor's office said in an email to NPR.

On the fourth day of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial in the death George Floyd, jurors heard from multiple first responders who treated the Black man as he lay motionless last Memorial Day.

Hennepin County paramedic Seth Bravinder said Floyd's heart "flat-lined" in the ambulance and his team never detected a pulse in the 46-year-old man who died in police custody.

Updated April 1, 2021 at 1:54 PM ET

Prosecutors began the fourth day of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial on murder charges by calling George Floyd's girlfriend, Courteney Ross, to the stand. Ross spoke about her affection for Floyd; she also acknowledged that both she and Floyd struggled with opioid addiction.

In her emotional testimony, Ross described to the jury the man she knew, adding detail to a life that ended when Floyd died in police custody last Memorial Day.

Updated April 1, 2021 at 2:53 PM ET

Johnson & Johnson is reporting a setback in its effort to produce tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses, saying a contract production plant in Baltimore produced an ingredient that failed quality control tests. The material was made by Emergent BioSolutions, according to Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson said the issue "was identified and addressed with Emergent," adding that it also informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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