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

Friday

Power down, schools closed and flights grounded: Winter storm sweeps parts of U.S.

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Tuesday

Memorial Day launches what's expected to be an extremely busy summer travel season

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Wednesday

Travelers line up to check in for United Airlines flights at San Francisco International Airport on July 1, 2022 in San Francisco, Calif. This summer is expected to be a record for air travel. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Wednesday

There are concerns airlines won't be able to keep up with busy summer travel

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Sunday

Despite sky-high prices, airlines are struggling to accommodate the spring break rush

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Wednesday

Norfolk Southern's CEO is grilled on Capitol Hill over rail industry safety

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Thursday

Near misses and other mishaps are setting off alarm bells in the aviation industry

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Thursday

Head of Norfolk Southern apologizes for Ohio train derailment in Senate hearing

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Alan Shaw, president and CEO of Norfolk Southern Corp., testifies before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images hide caption

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Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Tuesday

A JetBlue Airways Airbus A320 (left) passes a Spirit Airlines Airbus A320 as it taxis on the runway on July 7, 2022, at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Biden administration wants to block JetBlue from buying Spirit, saying the deal would reduce competition and hurt travelers. Wilfredo Lee/AP hide caption

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Wilfredo Lee/AP

DOJ sues to block JetBlue-Spirit merger, saying it will curb competition

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Monday

A sign welcoming people to East Palestine, Ohio reads The Place to be Come Back Soon, on February 17, 2023 in East Palestine, Ohio. Michael Swensen/Getty Images hide caption

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Friday

Tuesday

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is pictured on Jan. 31 in New York City. He's calling on Congress to give the DOT more ability to act. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images hide caption

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Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Buttigieg calls for stronger railroad safety rules after East Palestine disaster

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Saturday

The White House is defending the federal response to the Ohio train derailment

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Thursday

Senate panel presses acting head of FAA on safety lapses, computer system failure

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Wednesday

Congress presses acting head of FAA on safety lapses and computer system failure

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Tuesday

The new Airbus A320neo takes off for its first test flight at Toulouse-Blagnac airport in southwestern France on Sept. 25, 2014. The owner of Air India announced a deal Tuesday to buy 250 Airbus jets, including A350 wide-body planes and A320neo single-aisle planes in a deal worth billions of dollars. Frederic Lancelot/AP hide caption

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Frederic Lancelot/AP

Friday

Senate panel hearing targeted Southwest Airlines holiday travel meltdown

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Thursday

Southwest Airlines was in the hot seat at a Senate hearing over its recent meltdown

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Thursday

Zipporah Kuria, of London, carries a photo of her deceased father Joseph Waithaka as she walks into federal court for the Boeing arraignment hearing in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday. Waithaka was killed in 2019 crash of a Boeing 737 Max airliner. LM Otero/AP hide caption

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Friday

Grounded flights were the result of employees deleting critical files, FAA says

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Friday

Passengers check in at Southwest Airlines' self-serve kiosks at Chicago's Midway Airport as delays stemming from a computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration brought flights to a standstill across the U.S. on Wednesday. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP hide caption

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Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Thursday

Wednesday

Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled due to critical computer system failure

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