David Schaper

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

In this role, he covers news in Chicago and around the Midwest. Additionally he reports on a broad range of important social, cultural, political, and business issues in the region.

The range of Schaper's reporting has included profiles of service members killed in Iraq, and members of a reserve unit returning home to Wisconsin. He produced reports on the important political issues in key Midwest battleground states, education issues related to "No Child Left Behind," the bankruptcy of United Airlines as well as other aviation and transportation issues, and the devastation left by tornadoes, storms, blizzards, and floods in the Midwest.

Prior to joining NPR, Schaper spent nine years working as an award-winning reporter and editor for Chicago Public Radio's WBEZ-FM. For three years he covered education issues, reporting in-depth on the problems, financial and otherwise, plaguing Chicago's public schools.

In 1996, Schaper was named assistant news editor, managing the station's daily news coverage and editing a staff of six. He continued general assignment reporting, covering breaking news, politics, transportation, housing, sports, and business.

When he left WBEZ, Schaper was the station's political reporter, editor, and a frequent fill-in news anchor and program host. Additionally, he served as a frequent guest panelist on public television's Chicago Tonight and Chicago Week in Review.

Since beginning his career at Wisconsin Public Radio's WLSU-FM, Schaper worked in Chicago as a writer and editor for WBBM-AM and as a reporter and anchor for WXRT-FM. He worked at commercial stations WMAY-AM in Springfield, IL; and WIZM-AM and FM in La Crosse, WI; and at public stations WSSU-FM (now WUIS) and WDCB-FM in in Illinois.

Schaper earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and an Master of Arts from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

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6:16am

Sat May 26, 2012
Law

Chicago Outsider Busted Crime With Apolitical Flare

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 2:16 pm

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald speaks to reporters during a news conference Thursday in Chicago. Fitzgerald announced he would step down.
Brian Kersey Getty Images

Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor who went after the Gambino crime family, al-Qaida and even the White House in court — not to mention several Illinois politicians — is leaving his job as U.S. attorney in Chicago.

The career prosecutor, known as "Eliot Ness with a Harvard degree," will leave a legacy as a tenacious corruption buster, though some criticize his style as overzealous.

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12:22am

Sun May 13, 2012
Around the Nation

Lack Of Support Puts The Brakes On High-Speed Rail

Originally published on Sun May 13, 2012 12:09 pm

California's Legislative Analyst's Office said the latest proposal to build a $68.4 billion high-speed train system is still too vague and the state legislature should not approve funding it for it this year.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Three years ago, President Obama was rolling out an ambitious vision for high-speed rail in America. "Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 mph," the president said at the time.

Today, there are a few Amtrak trains going that fast, but for the most part, the president's plans for high-speed trains have slowed considerably.

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4:22am

Wed May 9, 2012
NPR Story

Milwaukee Mayor To Face Gov. Walker In Recall Election

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 4:42 am

Voters in Wisconsin Tuesday, chose the Democrat who will face Republican Governor Scott Walker in next month's gubernatorial recall election. The winning Democrat was Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

6:26am

Tue May 8, 2012
Politics

Wis. Primary To Choose A Candidate To Face Walker

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 2:00 pm

Tom Barrett and Kathleen Falk chat before the start of a live debate for Democratic gubernatorial primary candidates Friday at the Wisconsin Public Television studio in Madison. The front-runners vying for a chance to take on Republican Gov. Scott Walker in a June recall election bashed the governor during the debate. Not pictured are fellow candidates Doug La Follette and Kathleen Vinehout.
Rick Wood AP

Shortly after he took office last winter, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and fellow Republicans in the Legislature enraged Democrats and public employee unions by cutting collective bargaining rights, and Wisconsin has been on fire politically ever since. A protest movement forced a recall election, scheduled for June 5, and now, voters in Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary will select Walker's challenger.

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3:38am

Mon April 23, 2012
Education

Chicago Wants Longer School Day; Foes Want Details

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 9:39 am

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sits with South Side first-graders in October. Emanuel's plan to lengthen the school day and the school year has met with resistance.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Most kids in Chicago's public schools spend just five hours and 45 minutes in school a day. It's one of the shortest school days in the country.

That's why more than half of the city's public elementary schools have no recess. At those that do, it's shockingly short.

"We have a 10-minute recess and a 10-minute lunch at our school," says Wendy Katten, mother of a third-grader at Burley Elementary School in Chicago. "It's not sufficient."

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5:22pm

Wed April 18, 2012
Around the Nation

Alleged $30M Theft By Comptroller Stuns Ill. City

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 8:52 am

This November 2011 photo provided by The American Quarter Horse Journal shows Rita Crundwell of Dixon, Ill., at the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. FBI agents arrested Crundwell, the Dixon comptroller, on charges she misappropriated more than $30 million since 2006 to finance a lavish lifestyle.
AP

The top financial official for the small city of Dixon, Ill., is accused of stealing more than $30 million from city coffers over the past six years. It's a staggering amount of money for the city of just 15,000 residents in northwest Illinois, and federal prosecutors allege she used the funds to finance a lavish lifestyle that included horse farms and a $2 million luxury motor home.

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4:00am

Fri March 30, 2012
NPR Story

Negative Political Ads Work On Undecided Voters

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Ask almost anyone about negative political ads, you'll likely get a negative response. They're widely disliked, yet campaigns keep airing them over and over and over again. That's especially true right now in the state of Wisconsin, ahead of next week's Republican primary.

NPR's David Schaper reports that as hated as these ads are, they are seen as effective.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Flip on the TV anywhere in Wisconsin this week and it won't be long until you hear this...

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

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4:00am

Wed March 21, 2012
Election 2012

Kinzinger, Jackson Jr. Among Ill. Primary Winners

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Mitt Romney won the Illinois Republican primary convincingly yesterday, as we've been reporting elsewhere in the program. Illinois voters were not just voting for presidential candidates, though, there were congressional primaries as well. Redistricting made things very interesting. Two Republican incumbents had to run against one another, and a high-profile Democratic incumbent got a challenge from a former colleague. NPR's David Schaper runs down the results.

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5:18pm

Mon March 19, 2012
Election 2012

In Illinois, Candidates Make A Final Delegate Dash

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 12:04 am

Standing in front of a statue of Ronald Reagan on horseback, Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally Monday in Dixon, Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

It's another furious dash to the finish line as delegate-rich Illinois holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is looking to increase his delegate lead. And he's still searching for that decisive win over his main rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

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5:55pm

Fri March 16, 2012
Election 2012

Incumbents Face Off In Illinois After Redistricting

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 11:20 pm

Rep. Don Manzullo, a 10-term veteran, campaigns in Belvidere, Ill., on March 5.
M. Spencer Green AP

Redistricting is forcing a handful of congressional incumbents of the same party to run against each other in primaries. On March 6, Rep. Marcy Kaptur defeated fellow liberal Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Ohio.

And next Tuesday, two conservative Republicans square off in Illinois.

The scene is the newly drawn 16th Congressional District, which covers mostly rural territory in the northern part of the state, curving around the suburbs and exurbs of Chicago, from the Wisconsin border north of Rockford to the Indiana border east of Kankakee.

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12:01am

Tue March 6, 2012
Around the Nation

As Elkhart's Electric Dreams Fizzle, RVs Come Back

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 12:13 pm

Clinton Lehman, who had been unemployed for nine months before being called back to work, assembles a recreation vehicle at the Jayco factory in Elkhart, Ind., in 2011.
Mira Oberman AFP/Getty Images

Elkhart, Ind., is known as the RV capital of the world. The city suffered badly when the recession hit and demand for recreational vehicles all but screeched to a halt. That's when local and state leaders started looking for ways to bolster the area's manufacturing industry.

The unemployment rate in the city along the Michigan border eventually soared to 20 percent — the highest in the nation at the time.

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4:53pm

Wed February 29, 2012
Around the Nation

Severe Storms Leave Nine Dead In Midwest

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 8:34 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Deadly tornadoes swept through the Midwest overnight and this morning, killing at least eight people. The storm system hammered parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky, where it still poses a threat.

As NPR's David Schaper reports, hardest hit is the small city of Harrisburg in southern Illinois.

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5:50pm

Thu February 2, 2012
U.S.

Families Suffer Through Chicago Morgue Backlog

Originally published on Thu February 2, 2012 7:08 pm

Workers fill a pauper's grave at Homewood Memorial Gardens, south of Chicago, with remains from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, which is now catching up on its backlog of indigent burials.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Losing a loved one in any circumstance can be a painful experience, but for some families in Chicago, that pain is being compounded by what's been happening at the Cook County morgue in recent weeks. In the words of one observer, it's "a moral travesty."

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