David Schaper David Schaper is a NPR National Desk reporter based in Chicago.
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David Schaper

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David Schaper at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley)
Allison Shelley/NPR

David Schaper

Reporter, National Desk, Chicago

David Schaper is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, based in Chicago, primarily covering transportation and infrastructure, as well as breaking news in Chicago and the Midwest.

In this role, Schaper covers aviation and airlines, railroads, the trucking and freight industries, highways, transit, and new means of mobility such as ride hailing apps, car sharing, and shared bikes and scooters. In addition, he reports on important transportation safety issues, as well as the politics behind transportation and infrastructure policy and funding.

Since joining NPR in 2002, Schaper has covered some of the nation's most important news stories, including the Sandy Hook school shooting and other mass shootings, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, California wildfires, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and numerous other disasters. David has also reported on presidential campaigns in Iowa and elsewhere, on key races for U.S. Senate and House, governorships, and other offices in the Midwest, and he reported on the rise of Barack Obama from relative political obscurity in Chicago to the White House. Along the way, he's brought listeners and online readers many colorful stories about Chicago politics, including the corruption trials and convictions of two former Illinois governors.

But none of that compares to the joy of covering his beloved Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2016, and three Stanley Cup Championships for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

Prior to joining NPR, Schaper spent almost a decade working as an award-winning reporter and editor for WBEZ/Chicago Public Media, NPR's Member station in Chicago. For three years he covered education issues, reporting in-depth on the problems and progress — financial, educational and otherwise — in Chicago's public schools.

Schaper also served as WBEZ's Assistant Managing Editor of News, managing the station's daily news coverage and editing the reporting staff while often still reporting himself. He later served as WBEZ's political editor and reporter; he was a frequent fill-in news anchor and talk show host. Additionally, he has been an occasional contributor guest panelist on Chicago public television station WTTW's news program, Chicago Tonight.

Schaper began his journalism career in La Crosse, Wisconsin, as a reporter and anchor at Wisconsin Public Radio's WLSU-FM. He has since worked in both public and commercial radio news, including stints at WBBM NewsRadio in Chicago, WXRT-FM in Chicago, WDCB-FM in suburban Chicago, WUIS-FM in Springfield, Illinois, WMAY-AM in Springfield, Illinois, and WIZM-AM and FM in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Schaper earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications and history at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master's degree in public affairs reporting at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He lives in Chicago with his wife, a Chicago Public School teacher, and they have three adult children.

Story Archive

Airlines are concerned 5G wireless service may affect the ability to land planes

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The perfect storm: The last 2 weeks have been rough for the airline industry

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Not the 'carmageddon' that some predicted, traffic jams in some cities are back

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Latino community in western Kentucky was hit especially hard by tornadoes

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Biden promised government support after visiting areas hit by tornadoes in Kentucky

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Beatriz and Luis Valero, and their 8-year-old granddaughter Alayah Pacheco, stand in front of what's left of their home. The family says they lost everything in last week's tornado and hope to rebuild, but they had no homeowner's insurance. David Schaper/NPR hide caption

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In Kentucky towns slammed by tornadoes, weary residents are picking up the pieces

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Supplies and workers are limited as communities start to rebuild after tornadoes

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At least 8 died at the local candle factory in one of the areas hit hard by tornadoes

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Severe weather devastated the Midwest and the South overnight

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Travelers arrive for flights at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Nov. 30. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Omicron spreads uncertainty about holiday travel and dampens recovery for airlines

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Airlines were beginning to recover from the pandemic, then Omicron showed up

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Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on five charges after fatally shooting two people

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Kenosha responds to the Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty verdict

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Unclaimed baggage wells up between carousels for passengers arriving on Southwest Airlines flights at Denver International Airport late Sunday, Oct. 10, in Denver. David Zalubowski/AP hide caption

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Flying for Thanksgiving? Expect packed planes, unruly passengers and cancellations

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Airline flight bookings for the Thanksgiving holiday are up significantly this year

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