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 Torch
10:27 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Phelps In Fly, Too Many Tweets, And A Chatty Olympics Greeter

Sam Griffiths of Australia, and his horse Happy Times, compete in the cross country phase of the equestrian eventing competition in London's Greenwich Park.
John MacDougall AFP/Getty Images

Good morning. Here's a roundup of London 2012 Olympics news stories that have caught our interest. We also have a highlight list of today's upcoming events, in a different post. You can also check out our main schedule. Here's what's been happening already today:

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The Torch
9:10 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Highlights Of Monday's Events From The London 2012 Olympics

Australia's Jamie Dwyer, who scored three goals against South Africa in field hockey Monday, goes horizontal in London's Riverbank Arena. The South African goalie matched Dwyer's strategy, but Australia won, 6-0.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 10:00 am

Swimming is again the big draw in the London 2012 Olympics today, with four gold-medal races scheduled. But gymnastics also has a big day. Competitions are being held in 22 sports Monday — meaning there are dozens of events vying for your attention. Below, we list the ones we'll be keeping a close eye on.

As always, we'll be reporting results and stories as they happen. So if you're someone who worries about spoilers and prefers to watch on tape-delay, steer clear of our Twitter feed... and possibly the entire Internet.

All times are EDT:

Swimming

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The Torch
5:24 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Sunday, Day 3 Of The London 2012 Games: What's On Tap

Satoshi Shimizu (left) of Japan celebrates his 10-9 points decision over Isaac Dogboe of Ghana, in their Round of 32 bantamweight bout at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The first full day of competition brought many close finishes in London.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

The first full day of Olympic competition brought moments of tense excitement, in the pool and on the archery course, among other places. At the time of this post, China leads the overall medal count, with 6, followed by Italy and the United States, with 5. Four of China's medals are gold.

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The Torch
2:50 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Lochte Cruises To Win Gold, Beating Phelps In The IM

Ryan Lochte smiles on the podium with his new gold medal after winning the men's 400m individual medley in London Saturday. Lochte is wearing a dental accessory known as grillz, in the shape of the American flag.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 7:05 pm

Ryan Lochte won the gold medal in the men's 400-meter individual medley Saturday, beating Michael Phelps and the rest of a talented field at the London 2012 Olympics.

Lochte finished with a time of 4:05.18, beating Brazil's Thiago Pereira (4:08.86) and Japan's Kosuke Hagino (4:08.94). Phelps was fourth, at 4:09.28. Lochte sprang to an early lead in the butterfly, and solidified it with his backstroke.

The victory wasn't a surprise to Lochte, who said that he knew he was in good shape coming into the London Games. Still, the win seemed to take a while to sink in.

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The Torch
1:24 pm
Sat July 28, 2012

Team USA Wins First Medals Of London 2012 Games; More Results From Saturday

Silver medalists Brady Ellison, Jake Kaminski and Jacob Wukie of the United States, gold medalists Michele Frangilli, Marco Galiazzo and Mauro Nespoli of Italy, and bronze medalists Kim Bub-min, Im Dong-hyun and Oh Jin-hyek of South Korea stand with their medals after the men's team archery event.
Paul Gilham Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 4:58 pm

On the first day of full competition in the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Team USA won its first medal of the games, as the men's archery team took silver in a tense final against Italy. The Americans reached the final after stunning the highly regarded South Korean team in a comeback win earlier in the day.

Italy won on its last arrow, when a score of eight would have meant a loss and a ten a gold. The arrow hit the line between the 9 and 10 — and in archery, that meant 10 points, and the gold medal.

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The Torch
11:01 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Cyclist Vinokourov Wins Gold Medal In Men's Road Race

Rigoberto Uran of Colombia leads a group of riders as they ride up Boxhill on the outskirts of London, during the men's cycling road race for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Miguel Medina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 11:48 am

Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan won the gold medal in the men's cycling road race Saturday, edging Rigoberto Uran of Colombia in a late sprint in London. The 150-mile race ended in front of Buckingham Palace.

The Olympic medal completes a vindication for Vinokourov, 38, who has previously been suspended for doping, back in 2007. He retired last year, after breaking his leg at the Tour de France. But he returned to the French classic this summer.

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The Torch
10:15 am
Sat July 28, 2012

London's Opening Ceremony Gets Rave Reviews; NBC, Not So Much

A scene from the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. The event was widely praised — but in the U.S., not all viewers were enthused.
Richard Heathcote Getty Images

The London Olympics are in full swing, after an opening ceremony Friday that was chock-full of historic and cultural imagery drawn from Britain's past. Critics are gushing over Queen Elizabeth's role in the spectacle — along with James Bond. But there is room for debate — especially among viewers here in the U.S.

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The Torch
9:31 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Let's Catch Up: American Vollmer Sets Olympic Record; First Medals Are Won

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 12:41 pm

Good morning. Here's a rundown of what's been happening in and around London, on the morning after the Summer Olympics' opening ceremony:

- U.S. swimmer Dana Vollmer set new Olympic and U.S. records in her 100m butterfly qualifying heat this morning. Vollmer, of Granbury, Texas, had a time of 56.25 seconds. She says she can go faster.

- The first medals have now been awarded in the London 2012 Olympics, with China's Yi Siling winning gold in the 10-meter air rifle shooting competition. Poland took silver, and China took bronze, as well.

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The Torch
3:02 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Legally Blind Archer Sets World Record At London 2012 Games

Archer Im Dong-hyun (right) of South Korea inspects his target after breaking the world record during the men's ranking round Friday.
Paul Gilham Getty Images

As we've reported, there were no public events on the Olympic sporting schedule today, the day of the opening ceremony. But we must note that two world records were set at the London 2012 Games this morning. That's when South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun scored a record 699 points.

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The Torch
12:32 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

London Olympics: Watching The Opening Ceremony, And This Weekend's Events

The Olympic torch is delivered by row boat to the royal barge, Gloriana, on the River Thames, near Tower Bridge in London ahead of the opening ceremony on Friday.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 1:46 pm

The London 2012 Summer Games are set to begin in earnest, with today's opening ceremony kicking off a weekend of gold-medal competitions. But if you're in America and you hope to watch the Opening Ceremony live, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed: NBC is tape-delaying its broadcast until Friday night.

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The Torch
9:25 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Lighting The Olympic Cauldron, And Angry Fans

This sculpture of a skeletal gymnast stands in London's Olympic Village, where athletes are preparing for today's Opening Ceremony. If you think it's weird, you're not alone.
Alexander Hassenstein AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 1:57 pm

Good morning. Today's lone public Olympic event is the Opening Ceremony, which begins at 4 p.m. EDT. NBC will not air the broadcast until the evening, however, at 7:30 p.m. in all time zones. We'll have a post later about that issue, and how you can watch. For now, here's a rundown of news items:

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The Torch
4:34 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Maroney Says She'll 'Make The Best' Of Competing On Broken Toe

"It was really fun to get out there and do my vault," McKayla Maroney said, after trying out the apparatus at the North Greenwich Arena in London Thursday. Maroney is coping with the lingering effects of a broken right toe.
John Cheng USA Gymnastics

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 5:42 pm

U.S.gymnast McKayla Maroney will compete in the London Summer Games, despite the lingering effects of a broken toe. Maroney, a gold medal contender, is the reigning world champion in the vault. Early reports suggested that Maroney broke her toe in London. But it appears that she merely tweaked an earlier injury.

On Twitter, NBC producer Alexa Ainsworth clarified that Maroney's toe "was broken before Classic and she just aggravated that here."

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The Torch
9:34 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Egypt Rocks Pirate Brands, And Flag-Gate

Good morning, and welcome to "Day -1" of the 2012 Summer Olympics. That NASA-like designation is due to events already having begun in the soccer competition, before Friday's Opening Ceremony. Men's soccer begins play today.

Here are some stories that popped up overnight:

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The Torch
4:31 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Fencer Mariel Zagunis Will Carry U.S. Flag In Opening Ceremony

Mariel Zagunis has been named the U.S. flagbearer for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony. Here, Zagunis celebrates a win in the individual sabre final at the Pan American Games last year.
Jorge Saenz AP

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 4:47 pm

Mariel Zagunis, the two-time gold medalist in sabre, has been named the U.S. flagbearer for Friday's Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. Zagunis, who was chosen by her peers for the honor, will be the first fencer to carry the flag since 1968, when Janice Lee Romary led the U.S. team in Mexico City.

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The Torch
3:54 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Athletes And The Foods They Eat: Don't Try This At Home

Olympic athletes are different from you and me. For instance, they're among the most highly trained and well-muscled people on earth. For another, they have to eat an insane amount of food to keep their high-powered engines running.

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The Torch
3:29 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

U.S. Women's Soccer Starts London Olympics With A Comeback Win

Carli Lloyd scores the U.S. team's winning goal, in a comeback win over France. The Americans are bidding for their third straight Olympic gold medal.
Graham Stuart AFP/Getty Images

On the first day of competition in the 2012 Summer Olympics, the U.S. women's soccer team bounced back from an early deficit to beat France, 4-2. The game was a rematch for the two teams that met in last year's World Cup semifinals.

France jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the match was 15 minutes old, scoring on a breakaway run by Gaetane Thiney; moments later, a short-range shot found the back of the net after several U.S. players failed to clear the ball following a corner kick.

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The Torch
11:37 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Greek Triple Jumper Suspended From Olympic Team For Inappropriate Tweets

Triple jumper Voula Papachristou, seen competing in Finland last month, has been removed from Greece's London Olympics squad over comments made on Twitter.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 3:32 pm

Greek track star Voula Papachristou has been suspended from her country's Olympic team, after she made a comment about Africans who live in Greece. The comment was widely noticed on her Twitter feed, and resulted in her removal from the London 2012 roster.

On Twitter, Papachristou also reportedly expressed support for the right-wing Greek political party Golden Dawn, particularly its views on immigration.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee said that Papachristou "is suspended after her comments that go against the values and ideals of Olympism."

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The Torch
10:52 am
Wed July 25, 2012

The London Games, Seen Through A (Very) Critical Eye

Just as every Olympic athlete trains their heart out, every Olympic expert seems to wear themselves out describing what an unmitigated sham is being perpetrated on the host city. Many of those criticisms are valid, of course — especially concerns about overbuilding facilities.

For instance, NPR's Louisa Lim recently reported on China's Post-Olympic Woe: How To Fill An Empty Nest.

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The Torch
9:16 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Iran's Judo Champ Withdraws From Olympics, Ending Chance Of Facing Israeli

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:19 am

Iranian judo champion Javad Mahjoub will miss the London 2012 Olympics because he needs a 10-day course of antibiotics, according to reports. But few Olympic observers are worried about the health of Mahjoub, 21. Many of them see the withdrawal as a ploy to keep from competing against an Israeli.

From London, Tom Goldman filed this report for NPR's Newscast:

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The Torch
5:05 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Olympic Sports We Don't See Any More, And Why

Who needs two hands? At the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, the events included All Around Dumbell, which comprised 10 one- and two-handed lifts.
Chicago History Museum/Library of Congress

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 5:14 pm

The Olympic Games are one of the most tradition-bound sporting events in the world. But that doesn't mean its sporting events are written in stone.

Since 1894, dozens of events have had their flash in the pan, and been dumped. Some have lasted only one Olympic cycle. The website Top End Sports has a nice collection of discontinued Olympic events.

Here are some of my favorite one-and-dones:

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The Torch
12:36 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Watch The London Olympics Online: A Guide To Web Video And Mobile Apps

The NBC Olympics app will include different levels of streaming video. The network requires registration for access to its live content from London.
NBC

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 3:44 am

If you love to watch the Olympics, this is your year: NBC is pumping out more than 5,500 hours of video for your TV and digital devices. We've covered that before — but how do you go about watching?

Here's a guide to how you can keep up with the Summer Games:

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The Salt
12:02 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

A Bartender's Antidote To Sweet And Citrus? Bitter Bark, Myrrh And Secrets

Alexandra Bookless, head bartender at The Passenger, suggests starting off with Fernet in a cocktail like the Hanky Panky.
Bill Chappell NPR

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 6:48 pm

For bartenders, the words "last call" have a hidden meaning: It won't be long before they're enjoying a drink of their own. And after hours of making tonics, flips and fizzes, what does a bartender drink? Often, the answer is short and simple: Fernet.

In a world of citrusy, sugary drinks that can all taste alike, Fernet Branca stands alone. Depending on how your palate responds, the Italian digestif can be called everything from refreshingly bold to an acquired taste to cough syrup that's gone bad.

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The Torch
9:51 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Let's Catch Up: Olympic Coaches Won't March; North Korea Wants Games On TV

London Underground employee John Light (!) carries the Olympic torch onto a train at Wimbledon Station.
LOCOG

Good morning. With three days until the official opener of the 2012 London Games, here's a summary of the news coming out of the Olympics:

  • U.S. (and other) coaches will not be walking in Friday's Opening Ceremonies, because Olympic honchos wanted to shorten the ceremony. Some don't even have tickets.
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The Torch
4:00 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Before Olympics, U.S. Basketball Gives Itself Hard Tests; Spain Awaits

Kobe Bryant (left) drives against Manu Ginobili of Argentina during an exhibition game between USA and Argentina in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday. The U.S. team faces another test Tuesday, against world No. 2 Spain.
David Ramos Getty Images

The U.S. Olympic basketball team narrowly beat Argentina late Sunday, 86-80, as the two teams prepare for the start of the London Games Friday. The tight score came despite a fast start for the U.S. squad, who were dressed in throwback uniforms inspired by the 1992 Dream Team.

The Americans raced to a 31-16 lead early on, but they were only 4 points ahead late in the game, and pulled away thanks to three-pointers by Kevin Durant and Chris Paul — who posted a photo of his uniform on Instagram.

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The Torch
12:43 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Many Muslim Olympians Get A Break On Ramadan Fasting

Britain's Abdul Buhari competes in the discus at the European Athletics Championships last month. With the Olympics coinciding with Ramadan, Buhari and many other Muslim athletes are postponing their fasting until after their events.
Ian Walton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:39 am

Hundreds of Muslim athletes are participating in the London Olympics, which officially begin Friday. But along with travel and other logistics, they're also adjusting to Ramadan, the holy month that requires them to fast.

Many athletes say they'll forego the ban on consuming food and drink, as Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports on Morning Edition. The daylong fast is a threat to a strong performance — and their hopes of bringing pride to their nation, they say.

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The Torch
10:29 am
Mon July 23, 2012

Lighting 'The Torch': NPR's Olympics Blog

This photo will not set the tone for The Torch. But if such behavior persists at the Summer Olympics, we'll bring it to your attention.
Paul Gilham Getty Images

You have found The Torch, NPR's new blog about the London 2012 Summer Olympics. For the next three weeks, we'll bring you the big news from London, along with stories about the human side of an international mega-event.

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The Two-Way
7:33 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Phelps And Lochte Set To Square Off In Olympic Trials Final

Michael Phelps swims in a preliminary heat at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. Phelps and rival Ryan Lochte were awoken from their afternoon naps by a fire alarm at their hotel Monday.
Al Bello Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 8:35 pm

The London Olympics are still more than a month away, but fans of swimming were eager to see the 2012 edition of the rivalry between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte get started Monday, when the two Olympic gold medalists face off in the final of the 400-meter individual medley at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Update at 8:32 p.m. Lochte Beats Phelps

Lochte defeated Phelps at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

Here's more from The Associated Press:

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The Two-Way
6:55 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Greek Workers Find Ancient Highway In Subway Dig

Officials unveiled an ancient road found during construction of Thessaloniki's new subway system Monday.
Nikolas Giakoumidis AP

A Greek city's new subway project has led to the discovery of an ancient road made of marble that was laid nearly 2,000 years ago. The road in Thessaloniki is made of paving stones that show signs of use by both horse-drawn carriages and local children, the AP reports.

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The Two-Way
5:05 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Paralympic Cyclists Inspire Each Other, And A Documentary

Paralympic cyclists are featured in the upcoming documentary Unstoppables.
black train films

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 6:44 am

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics are just over a month away — leading NPR and other media to cover the intense preparations for the games. That also means the Paralympic Games are on the way, as athletes with physical disabilities round into top form for the Aug. 29 opening day.

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Vatican Hires Fox News Reporter To Advise Media Office

People gather on St. Peter's square to hear Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican Sunday. The Vatican has hired Fox News correspondent Greg Burke to advise its press office.
Alberto Pizzoli AFP/Getty Images

Seeking to modernize and widen its dealings with the media, the Vatican has hired Fox News Channel's Rome correspondent to advise its press office. The move will put journalist Greg Burke, who is also a member of Opus Dei, into a new role working with Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

For NPR's Newscast desk, Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome:

"Greg Burke, 52, has been with Fox 10 years, and he'll be the first Vatican communications expert with experience outside the world of Catholic media.

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