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

David Schaper

Allison Shelley/NPR
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.

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

Passengers enter a checkpoint at O'Hare International Airport on Monday. The TSA reports it screened over 1 million passengers on Sunday, the highest number since the coronavirus crisis began. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Dozens of Delta jets have been parked on the tarmac of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport since last spring. The airline reported $5.4 billion in third quarter losses on Tuesday. Russell Lewis/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Russell Lewis/NPR

American Airlines ticket agent Henry Gemdron, left, works with a customer at Miami International Airport on Sept. 30. Travel industry groups warn of huge job losses if Congress and the White House fail to reach agreement on coronavirus relief soon. Lynne Sladky/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Lynne Sladky/AP

American And United Airlines Announce Layoffs As Federal Payroll Support Runs Out

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/919228815/919228820" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

American Airlines check-in counters sit closed last month behind plastic barriers at Los Angeles International Airport. Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sox fan Steve Nitz (left) and Cubs fan Paul Schmitz watch the crosstown rivals play each other last weekend in the beer garden at Bernie's Tap and Grill across the street from Wrigley Field in Chicago. David Schaper/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Schaper/NPR

Baseball Rarity: Cubs And White Sox In Playoffs, But Chicago Fans Can't Go To Games

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/918452201/918688596" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cubs And White Sox Are In Playoffs With No Fans To Watch Them

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/918317563/918317564" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The clock is ticking for tens of thousands of pilots, flight attendants, reservation agents and other airline employees, who will likely lose their jobs on Oct. 1 if Congress doesn't extend federal aid for the airlines. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Andrew Harnik/AP

Thousands Of Airline Workers Facing Unemployment As Aid Package Stalls In Congress

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/916664046/916678139" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Airline Workers Face Unemployment Line

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/916625341/916625342" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

United Airlines baggage tags are displayed on a table at San Francisco International Airport. The carrier says it's starting a pilot program next month that will offer rapid coronavirus testing at the airport or via a self-collected, mail-in test ahead of a flight. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Boeing 737 Max heads to a landing past grounded Max jets at Seattle's Boeing Field after a test flight in June. It was the first of three days of recertification test flights that mark a step toward returning the aircraft to passenger service. Elaine Thompson/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Elaine Thompson/AP

Congressional Inquiry Faults Boeing And FAA Failures For Deadly 737 Max Plane Crashes

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/913426448/913467463" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript