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

Safety advocates detail safety measures as traffic fatalities reach a 16-year high

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This year's holiday travel season is going to be as chaotic as pre-pandemic levels

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Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced Monday that the department is assessing fines totaling $7.5 million against six airlines, ordering them to pay refunds to hundreds of thousands of customers. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

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U.S. fines airlines $7.5 million and they must refund customers for canceled flights

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Time is running out to book a relatively inexpensive flight for the holidays. Airlines say that demand is sky high and as a result, airfares are soaring. David Zalubowski/AP hide caption

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Holiday flights will be pricey and packed. Here are 5 things to know before you book

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Time is running out to book relatively inexpensive flights over the holidays

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If you haven't booked your holiday air travel yet, you probably should

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Acting Federal Aviation Administrator Billy Nolen at a news conference at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. A new FAA rule calling for longer rest times for airline flight attendants between flights. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

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Flight attendants to get more rest time under a new FAA rule

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Disaster relief organizations are preparing to help areas hit by Hurricane Ian

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Flight attendants picket airports — demanding that airlines fix chronic delays

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Boeing will pay $200 million to settle SEC charges over 737 Max crashes

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The Federal Aviation Administration has rejected a regional airline's bid to reduce the number of flight hours needed to become a commercial airline pilot. Nam Y Huh/AP hide caption

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A sigh of relief this morning: a railway strike has been averted

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Public transit is having a slow comeback after the pandemic

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Public transit across the U.S. is not nearly as crowded as it was before the pandemic

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