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

Changing pilots' retirement age is being looked at as a way to fix staffing issues

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JetBlue wins the bidding war for Spirit Airlines

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The Department of Transportation is cracking down on airlines

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Illinois' gun laws failed to stop the Highland Park shooter from getting weapons

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The latest on the investigation into the Highland Park July Fourth shooting

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It's been a rough summer so far for air travelers

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The travel chaos to expect over the July Fourth weekend

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Investigators probe why a dump truck crossed into the path of an Amtrak train

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High gas prices are hurting small businesses that need big vehicles

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Travelers queue up as they move through the north security checkpoint in the main terminal of Denver International Airport, Thursday, May 26, 2022. David Zalubowski/AP hide caption

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Airlines are cutting flight schedules. You can expect longer lines and higher fares

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The roadside memorial to Nick Parlingayan, 22, who was struck and killed by a Car while riding in a bike lane in Chicago. David Schaper/NPR hide caption

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More cyclists are being killed by cars. Advocates say U.S. streets are the problem

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737 Max crash victims' families aim to reopen Boeing's deferred prosecution agreement

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