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.

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Transportation Security Administration officers are finding guns in carry on bags at security checkpoints at a rate three times higher than they did last summer. And 80% of those guns are loaded. Courtesy of TSA hide caption

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Courtesy of TSA

Aging Dams Across The U.S. Pose Catastrophic Risks

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The Federal Aviation Administration's emergency air worthiness directive orders inspections of older Boeing 737 Classic and Next Generation planes that have been in storage because of reduced demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ted S. Warren/AP hide caption

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Airlines Are Bracing For Potential Layoffs As Federal Payroll Aid To Expire Soon

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A Boeing 737 Max aircraft lands following a FAA re-certification flight on June 29, 2020 in Seattle, Wash. The 737 MAX has been grounded for commercial flights since March 2019 following two crashes. Stephen Brashear/Getty Images hide caption

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As passenger demand slumped because of the coronavirus pandemic, Delta parked dozens of unneeded jets at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Alabama in May. Russell Lewis/NPR hide caption

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United Airlines planes at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. Company executives call the COVID-19 pandemic the worst crisis in the airline's history. Seth Wenig/AP hide caption

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Airlines tired of largely empty flights because of coronavirus fears want to fill planes — and the federal government isn't stopping them — now that more travelers are venturing out. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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DOT Inspector General's Report Says Boeing Misled FAA

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Airlines Are Getting Help From The TSA To Reassure Travelers That It's Safe To Fly

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A Boeing 737 Max heads to a landing past grounded 737 Max aircraft at Boeing Field following a test flight Monday in Seattle. The jet took off from Boeing Field earlier in the day, the start of three days of re-certification test flights that mark a step toward returning the aircraft to passenger service. Elaine Thompson/AP hide caption

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Elaine Thompson/AP

Federal Aviation Administration administrator Stephen Dickson testifies during a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Brendan Smialowski/AP hide caption

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Senators Rip FAA Over Failure To Turn Over 737 Max Documents

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Senate Examines FAA's Certification Of Boeing's Troubled 737 Max Airplane

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Protesters in Minneapolis called for the removal of police union leader Bob Kroll on Friday. David Schaper/NPR hide caption

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Calls For Reform Put Minneapolis Police Union Leader In Hot Seat

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Protesters Cite Discrimination In Call For Minneapolis Police Union Head To Step Down

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