Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a blogger and producer who works with NPR's Morning Edition and Digital Media group. In addition to coordinating Web features, he frequently contributes to NPR's blogs, from The Two Way and All Tech Considered to The Salt.

Chappell's work at NPR has ranged from being the site's first full-time homepage editor to leading 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 trains both digital and radio staff to use digital tools to tell compelling stories, in addition to "evangelizing" — promoting more collaboration between departments. Other shows he has worked with include All Things Considered, Fresh Air, and Talk of the Nation.

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.

Chappell's work for CNN also included producing Web stories and editing digital video for SI.com, as well as editing and producing stories for CNN.com's features division. He also worked at the network's video and research library.

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

From 2002-2003, Chappell served as editor-in-chief of The Trans-Atlantic Journal, a business and lifestyle monthly geared for expatriate Europeans working and living in the United States.

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.

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The Salt
12:14 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

President Obama's Tour Bus Rolls With White House Home Brew

President Barack Obama gets a beer and a pork chop as he visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Earlier, the president gave a man at a coffee shop a bottle of the White House's home brew.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:27 am

It seemed normal enough when President Obama chatted with a coffee shop patron about beer in Iowa Tuesday. The president has shown he's a fan of beer — and it's the most politically expedient, "everyman" beverage a candidate can drink. But then the president told a man at Knoxville, Iowa's Coffee Connection cafe that he travels with his own home-brew — and gave him a bottle to prove it.

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The Torch
5:10 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

The Torch Is Out: Olympic Moments Will Burn On

Three photos show the Olympic flame slowly extinguishing at London's Olympic Stadium, as the London 2012 Games come to an end. The next Summer Olympics will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Damien Meyer AFP/Getty Images

It's time to extinguish The Torch, and end NPR's three-week marathon of Olympic coverage. From the London Games' opening ceremony through 302 medal events, these Summer Olympics have fed fans a rich diet of history and spectacle. I only wish I'd been able to eat it all — but part of the Olympics' allure is that its smorgasbord is over-stuffed with intense competition.

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The Torch
3:51 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

London 2012 Games Set A Viewership Record, At 219.4 Million

It's nearly time to extinguish The Torch, and end NPR's little marathon of Olympic coverage. Before we do, we must note that the games have now become the most-watched television event in U.S. history, with a total of 219.4 viewers over 17 days of coverage.

Those high ratings push the London Games past Beijing 2008, which held the previous record of 215 million viewers. The number seems to include only NBC's TV audience, not mobile or online.

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The Torch
2:56 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Gabby Douglas Gets One More Gold, For Winning Facebook Fans

Gabby Douglas sits in the Olympic Media Lounge at Westfield Stratford City in London. During the Olympics, Douglas' Facebook fanbase grew by nearly 4,000 percent.
Alex Grimm Getty Images for adidas

They've been called the first "Social Games" — and the London Summer Olympics have delivered on that promise, making social stars out of athletes like gymnast Gabby Douglas, who saw her Facebook fanbase grow by nearly 4,000 percent during the games.

Gymnasts Marcel Nguyen and Jordyn Wieber were also among the big winners on Facebook, according to a research firm that tracked athletes' fan numbers during the games.

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The Torch
11:27 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Olympics Closing Ceremony: Both Well-Received And Anger-Inducing

Fireworks explode at London's Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics. The gala has gotten good reviews — with the exception of those troubled by NBC's presentation.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 3:09 pm

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The Torch
8:32 am
Sun August 12, 2012

Michael Phelps Exits The Olympics, And Enters Retirement At 27

Phelps dives into the pool for his last Olympic race. He says that his plans for post-Olympic life include finally seeing the cities he's competed in.
Al Bello Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 8:36 am

When Michael Phelps came to London for the 2012 Summer Games, he had 14 Olympic gold medals. He's leaving with 18 and a record 22 overall. And now he's retiring at 27, leaving the sport in which he always said he wanted to do things that had never been done before.

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The Torch
3:25 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

'Mobot' Day: Track Relays, Volleyball And More Results

Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates his relay team's world record by doing the "mobot" move, made famous by Mo Farah of Britain. Bolt crossed the finish line in front of Ryan Bailey of the United States.
Mike Hewitt Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 8:45 pm

On the last full day of competition in the 2012 Summer Olympics, the athletes are competing in 32 medal events. Many of these athletes are pretty darn fast — making it hard to keep tabs on them. So, here's a rundown of results from this afternoon's events, rolled up into one post:

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The Torch
2:16 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

America's Brigetta Barrett Brings Out Her Best, And Jumps To A Silver Medal

Brigetta Barrett competes in the women's high jump final Saturday in London's Olympic Stadium. She won the silver medal.
Stu Forster Getty Images

American Brigetta Barrett has won the silver medal in the women's high jump, setting a personal best of 2.03 meters (6 feet 8 inches) to eke out a spot on the podium between two Russian athletes: Anna Chicerova, who jumped 2.05, and Svetlana Shkolina, who tied Barrrett at 2.03 meters.

Barrett, 22, took the silver over Shkolina because she cleared the height on her second attempt, while the Russian managed it on her third try. Neither of them could clear 2.05 to match Chicerova, who came into the games as the reigning world champion.

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The Torch
1:35 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Farah Wins His Second Gold Medal For Britain, In The 5,000m

Mo Farah of Great Britain celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win gold ahead of Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia and Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa of Kenya. Farah, who has become a celebrity in Britain, is the sixth man to win both the 5,000m and 10,000m distances at one Olympics.
Michael Steele Getty Images

British runner Mo Farah has won the men's 5,000 meters, sending Olympic Stadium into a frenzy. His time of 13:41.66 barely edged Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia. American Bernard Lagat came in fourth, while Galen Rupp finished seventh.

Farah is now the sixth man in Olympic history to have won both the 5,000m and 10,000m events at the same Summer Games. He emerged at the front of the pack 700 meters from the finish, and held on to stay ahead of Gebremeskel.

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The Torch
12:15 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Mexico Devastates Brazil In Historic 2-1 Olympic Soccer Final

Oribe Peralta of Mexico celebrates scoring his second goal as Mexico beat Brazil, 2-1, to win Olympic gold medal in London's Wembley Stadium.
Michael Regan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 2:18 pm

Mexico shocked Brazil in the Olympic men's soccer final, winning gold 2-1, in a game in which it never trailed. Mexico's Oribe Peralta scored just 29 seconds into the game, after pouncing on a turnover to scorch a ball that tracked low and bounced to elude goalkeeper Gabriel.

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It's All Politics
10:22 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Romney's Not Alone In Stumbling Over 'Next President' Line

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney laughed off his momentary lapse Saturday, when he introduced his new running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, as "the next president of the United States." In 2008, President Obama had a similar slip.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 1:21 pm

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The Torch
8:50 am
Sat August 11, 2012

Georgia Gould Wins Bronze Medal In Mountain Bike Cross-Country Race

France's gold medalist Julie Bresset (center), Germany's silver medalist Sabine Spitz (left) and U.S. bronze medalist Georgia Gould stand on the podium of the women's cycling cross-country mountain bike event in Benfleet, England.
Carl De Souza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 10:25 am

U.S. cyclist Georgia Gould has won bronze in the women's mountain bike cross-country race. The gold medal went to France's Julie Bresset, who led from the start. Sabine Spitz of Germany won silver, after a late spill caused her to lose contact with Bresset.

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The Torch
2:46 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

U.S. Men's 400m Relay Team Claims Silver, As Bahamas Win Gold

Ramon Miller (left) of the Bahamas crosses the finish line ahead of Team USA's Angelo Taylor to win the 4x400m relay gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
Alexander Hassenstein Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 3:18 pm

The Bahamas men's team has won the 4x400m relay, edging past a surprisingly quick U.S. team to take the gold medal. It was the first gold medal for any male athlete from the Bahamas. The quartet ran a time of 2:56.72, setting a national record. The U.S. set a season best of 2:57.05 to take silver.

Trinidad and Tobago took the bronze medal, just ahead of Great Britain.

The Bahamas led the race after the first lap, with the U.S. running in second. And the two teams' runners stayed ahead of the pack, extending their lead to make it a two-team race.

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The Torch
1:24 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

U.S. Breaks Through In Wrestling, As Burroughs Delivers Gold

Jordan Burroughs celebrates with the U.S. flag after defeating Iran's Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi in the men's 74kg freestyle gold medal match.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

American wrestler Jordan Burroughs has won the first and only U.S. gold medal in his sport at the London Games, beating Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi of Iran. Burroughs, the reigning world champion at the 74kg weight, won a point in the first two periods to put a quick end to the men's freestyle match.

Goudarzi took silver with the loss, and the two bronze medals went to Russian Denis Tsargush, whom Burroughs defeated in the semifinals, and Sosan Tigiev of Uzbekistan.

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The Torch
11:24 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Year Of The Woman At The London Games? For Americans, It's True

The U.S. women's soccer team won gold Thursday, in a victory that also kept the American women far ahead of the men in the number of medals won at the London Games: 100 to 59.
Martin Bernetti AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 4:27 pm

Every nation that sent a delegation to the London Games sent at least one female athlete — a first for the Olympics. This year's Team USA has more female than male athletes — and the women have won nearly twice as many medals: 100 total medals, by my count, to 59 for the men.

So yes, it looks like this is the Year of the Woman at the Olympics, particularly for the United States.

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The Torch
8:03 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Taekwondo Setback, And A Spice Girls Sighting

Great Britain's Stuart Bithell leaps off the boat while teammate Luke Patience sails on as they win silver in the men's sailing 470 two-person dinghy medal race in Weymouth, England.
William West AFP/Getty Images

Good morning. The final weekend of the Summer Olympics is about to begin. In the medal count, the U.S. has jumped out to a 90-80 lead over China, with 39 golds to China's 37. And Russia has overtaken Great Britain, with 57 to the host nation's 54 medals.

Here's today's news that caught our interest:

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The Torch
12:35 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Women's Olympic Soccer Final: U.S. Beats Japan 2-1, To Win Gold

American Carli Lloyd heads in a goal in the first half to put the U.S. up 1-0 against Japan in the Olympic gold medal match.
Ronald Martinez Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 9:08 am

In Olympic women's soccer, the U.S. team has beaten Japan, 2-1, in the gold medal match at London's Wembley Stadium, a game that set a new attendance record with more than 80,000 spectators. Carli Lloyd scored both of the American goals, while U.S. stars Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach weren't able to finish their chances. But they were very active, and both players kept the Japanese defenders occupied around the goal.

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The Torch
11:15 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Michigan's Claressa Shields Wins Historic Gold Medal In Women's Boxing

U.S. boxer Claressa Shields (left) lands a punch on Nadezda Torlopova of Russia during the women's boxing middleweight final at the ExCel Arena in London. Shields, 17, won the first-ever gold medal in the event.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 1:59 pm

She's still in high school, but boxer Claressa Shields, 17, is also an Olympic gold medalist, after she won her middleweight final Thursday. She defeated Russia's Nadezda Torlopova by a score of 19-12.

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The Torch
9:44 am
Thu August 9, 2012

We See The Body Olympic: How Athletes Evolve Within Their Sports

The bodies and strategies of Olympic athletes have changed over time, as these photos of high jumpers from the 1908 and 2012 Games show.
Alexander Hassenstein Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 9:46 am

Why do the best weightlifters have short arms? What's the biggest physical challenge that marathon runners face? What kind of advantages do athletes from West Africa — and from Asia — enjoy? Those questions are answered in a great post over at our sister blog, Shots.

Our colleague Adam Cole analyzed information from a range of sources to come up with conclusions about the bodies of Olympic sprinters and rowers, as well as weightlifters and marathon runners.

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The Torch
8:43 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Canada Wins Bronze; Lopez Plays Waiting Game

Canada's Diana Matheson controls the ball, an instant before she struck the game-winning goal against France in the women's soccer bronze medal match Thursday.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

Good morning. It's Day 13 of the London Games, and the overall medal tally stands at 82 for the United States, 77 for China, and 48 for Great Britain. Here's a roundup of the news that caught our eye this morning:

Canada has won the bronze medal match over France in women's soccer, as midfielder Diana Matheson scored a golden... er, bronze goal in the 92nd minute to break a 0-0 tie. Obviously, the match featured lots of good defense.

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The Torch
7:42 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Pistorius And South Africa's Relay Team Win Reprieve, Will Race In Final

Anticipation: Oscar Pistorius of South Africa waits for the baton in the team 4x400m relay at London's Olympic Stadium. His teammate fell in the race, but officials deemed he had been interfered with. South Africa will run in the final.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Oscar Pistorius, who made history last weekend when he became the first amputee to run in an Olympic race, saw his London 2012 experience come to an abrupt end Thursday — before a successful appeal put his South African 4x400m relay team back in business.

Pistorius never got a chance to run in the relay's qualifying heat, as he awaited the baton handoff from teammate Ofentse Mogawane. But Mogawane, who was running the second leg of the race, slammed into the back of a Kenyan runner who had drifted into his lane.

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The Torch
3:30 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

May-Treanor And Walsh Jennings Go Out Golden, With A Three-Peat

Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings (left) and Misty May-Treanor yell after winning a record third-straight gold medal in women's beach volleyball, at the Horse Guard's Parade in London.
Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings have won an unprecedented Olympic three-peat in women's beach volleyball, as they defeated their fellow Americans, the team of Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, in the gold medal match.

The match lasted just 36 minutes, as May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings won the first and second sets by the same score: 21-16. On the final point, Ross' serve floated long, and the celebration was on. May-Treanor started dancing on the sand, and the players ran to the stands to hug their loved ones.

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The Torch
1:23 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Shut Out Of London Games, Video Artists Get Inventive

A video pays homage to the Olympic Games — and to the video games of the 1980s. It's one of many inventive videos around the web, inspired by the London Games.
Flikli

It's not easy to find video of the London 2012 Olympics on the Internet — even on YouTube. And that's inspiring people to "interpret" the Summer Games for themselves. For instance, you can see puppet shows, 8-bit video, and Taiwanese animation, all related to the Olympics... or, at least sort of related.

Here are some of my favorites — feel free to put yours into the comment section below:

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The Torch
12:44 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

How Do You Stack Up Against An Olympic Athlete?

Weightlifter Kazuomi Ota of Japan takes a moment after failing to lift the required weight in the men's +105kg final in London. At 6 feet and 324 pounds, Ota is one of the largest Olympians.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Sure, you might spend a lot of time on your couch, as you watch the Summer Olympics. And hey, maybe you've drifted a couple pounds above your fighting weight. But there's all kinds of athletes competing in London — one of them has to be around the same size as you, right?

Now you can find that out, thanks to the BBC, whose site has an interactive chart that lets you enter your height and weight — and then tells you which two Olympic athletes you most resemble.

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The Torch
8:53 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Rogue Condoms Appear In Olympic Village; Organizers Take Action

London Mayor Boris Johnson picks up a packet of Olympic branded condoms during a visit to the Olympic Village last month. Durex, the official Olympic supplier, has sent 150,000 condoms to the village. A bucket of rogue condoms has created a small controversy.
Scott Heavey Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that Olympics organizers take brand endorsements and official suppliers very seriously. That extends beyond logos on shorts and shoes — up to, and including, condoms. That's right, the Olympics has an "official" condom — and organizers want to get to the bottom of how a bucket of rogue condoms reached the Olympic Village.

As has happened before at the London Games, it started with a tweet.

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The Torch
7:48 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Let's Catch Up: London Abuzz Over Women's Soccer; Alternate Medal Count

Chinese trampoline gold medalist Dong Dong competes in London. An analysis by Yahoo finds that China's Olympians outpace their U.S. counterparts in judged competitions, such as trampoline and diving.
Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Good morning. Only five days remain in the Summer Games, and China leads the United States in the medal count, with a total of 73 (34 gold) to America's 71 (30 gold). Here's other news that caught our eye this morning:

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The Torch
1:17 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Equestrian Group Clears Way For Cloned Horses To Compete In The Olympics

A cloned foal named "ET Cryozootech Stallion" stands with Hugo Simon, Austrian former Olympic rider of "princeps" (initial donor) ET. The main equestrian organization has ended its ban on clones in the Olympics
Laurent Cipriani AFP/Getty Images

Will the London 2012 Games be remembered as the last Olympics of the pre-clone era? The answer is maybe — because the group that oversees equestrian events has given its OK to allowing cloned horses to compete in the Summer Olympics.

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The Torch
11:23 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Aly Raisman Becomes First U.S. Woman To Win Olympic Gold In Floor Exercise

Gymnast Aly Raisman became the first American woman to win a gold in the floor exercise, with her victory at the London 2012 Games.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman has won the gold medal in the women's floor exercise at the London 2012 Games. Her powerful routine garnered a score of 15.600 — enough to beat the 15.200 of Romania's Catalina Ponor, who turned in a technically strong performance.

Russia's Aliya Mustafina took bronze, with 14.900. American Jordyn Wieber finished seventh, with a 14.500 score.

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The Torch
9:31 am
Tue August 7, 2012

Venezuela's Olympic Hero Gets A Parade To Celebrate Long-Awaited Gold

Venezuelan gold medal fencer Ruben Limardo (center) greets supporters after arriving in Caracas Monday. Limardo was received at the airport as a national hero, after winning the first gold medal for Venezuela in 44 years.
Juan Barreto AFP/Getty Images

The streets of Caracas, Venezuela, were awash in joy Monday, as fencer Rubén Limardo brought home the country's first gold medal in 44 years. That's right: the last time a Venezuelan Olympian won gold was in 1968. So, Limardo's fans could be forgiven for going a little crazy over it.

"I never imagined they'd receive me like this," he said.

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The Torch
8:34 am
Tue August 7, 2012

National Zoo Names Cheetah Cubs After U.S. Sprinters

The Cheetahs In Question: Two three-month-old cheetah cubs play during their first week of being on public view at the National Zoo. The animals were named after U.S. track stars Justin Gatlin and Carmelita Jeter. But like even the smallest of felines, there is precious little chance they will ever show even a flicker of recognition upon hearing their name called.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Two cheetah cubs whose cuteness recently landed them on Facebook and Tumblr pages around the Internet have been named after U.S. Olympians competing in London.

Presumably, it was the cheetahs' fabled speed, not cuteness, that inspired officials at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., to name them Carmelita and Justin, after sprinters Carmelita Jeter and Justin Gatlin.

The three-month-old felines' namesakes won silver (Jeter) and bronze (Gatlin) medals in the 100-meter sprint at the Summer Games.

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