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

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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LM Otero/AP

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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Air travel ground to a halt Wednesday morning as FAA's computer system went down

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Tuesday

Friday

Thursday

A powerful storm system puts many would-be travelers' plans on ice

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Tuesday

A winter storm is expected to cause widespread travel disruptions

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An airline passenger walks between ride share vehicles after arriving at Chicago's Midway Airport just days before a major winter storm Tuesday, Dec. 20, in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP hide caption

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Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Tuesday

Wednesday

Safety advocates detail safety measures as traffic fatalities reach a 16-year high

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Thursday

This year's holiday travel season is going to be as chaotic as pre-pandemic levels

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Monday

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced Monday that the department is assessing fines totaling $7.5 million against six airlines, ordering them to pay refunds to hundreds of thousands of customers. Patrick Semansky/AP hide caption

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Patrick Semansky/AP

U.S. fines airlines $7.5 million and they must refund customers for canceled flights

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