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)
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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.

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Story Archive

Customers, Senators Urge Airlines To Change Their Refund Terms For Canceled Flights

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A line loops through security at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as travelers return to the skies after mostly staying home during the coronavirus pandemic. David Schaper/NPR hide caption

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Banking On Busy Summer Travel Season, Airlines Add More Flights And New Routes

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Welcoming Leisure Travel, Airlines Inch Back Toward Profitability

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Hundreds Gathered At The Funeral Of Daunte Wright, Who Was Fatally Shot By Police

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What Security Looks Like Amid Protests In The Minneapolis Area

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'He Had A Smile That Was Angelic. He Lit Up The Room': Remembering Daunte Wright

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Boeing said Friday that some of its 737 Max planes may have an electrical problem, leading airlines to ground dozens of the jets. An American Airlines flight on a Boeing 737 Max is seen here in December in Miami. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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Calling All Pilots — We Need You Again

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Some Pedestrian-Friendly Street Changes May Stay After The Pandemic Ends

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COVID-19 Relief Package Includes Billions For Transportation Sector

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For lighter moments during the coronavirus pandemic, passersby had an opportunity to vote for their stay at home spring break moments on the retaining wall of a home in St. Paul, Minn. Jim Mone/AP hide caption

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CDC Advises Against Spring Break Travel Despite Vaccines

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The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation's infrastructure a grade of C-minus on its quadrennial infrastructure report card. Many of the country's roads, bridges, airports, dams, levees and water systems are aging and in poor to mediocre condition. Carlos Osorio/AP hide caption

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Potholes, Grid Failures, Aging Tunnels And Bridges: Infrastructure Gets A C-Minus

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Concerns Over Idle Pilots: Deteriorating Working Conditions And Higher Stress Levels

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