Capparell was born in Windham, Ohio. She attended St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., then received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. After six years of working as a reporter and editor in the Boston area, she went on to earn a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, with a certificate from its Middle East Institute.
Following her graduation from Columbia, she moved to Istanbul to do freelance work for U.S. and European newspapers and magazines, including U.S. News and World Report, The San Diego Union-Tribune, El Periodico in Spain and Cumhuriyet in Istanbul. Soon, she was tapped by local journalists to help start Turkey’s first English-language weekly newspaper, Dateline Turkey, a joint effort of BBA, an independent Turkish news agency, and Hurriyet, a leading daily. She led a small staff of exceptional newspaper professionals, several of whom had just been released from prison following the coup of 1980. During her work there, she was named president of the Istanbul Foreign Press Association. She served as the weekly’s editor-in-chief until 1988.
Returning to the U.S., Capparell was a regular features contributor to The Boston Globe’s Sunday edition until hired in 1990 by The Wall Street Journal to work for its European edition, first in Brussels, then in New York. She also has contributed to Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and to Rough Guide: Turkey.
She moved back to the U.S. in 1991 with her colleagues to start a new Overseas Copy Desk to edit news for the European and Asian editions. In 1995, she joined the U.S. edition of the paper on the prestigious Marketplace front page, where she was the columns editor. She has been with the Journal ever since, currently on the desk of the Mansion section that covers high-end real estate. She lives and works in Manhattan.
Feedback & Reviews
Marco Syrayama de Pinto, translator of Nazim Hikmet into Brazilian Portuguese
On documentary “Nazim Hikmet: Living Is No Laughing Matter”
Nigel Winser, then-deputy director, Royal Geographical Society, London
On 1998 WSJ article “Get Ready for Shackleton-Mania”
Patrick T. Harker, then-dean of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Jacket quote for “The Real Pepsi Challenge"
Working alone or in collaboration
I bring a wide range of experience, expertise and enthusiasm to projects that have to get beyond the same old, same old.
My work experience is uniquely diversified
One of the great advantages of working in a major newsroom over time is the sheer scope of the information received. An editor’s work, in particular, offers both the bird’s-eye and the worm’s-eye view of the issues of the day. I have read thousands of stories from some of the best beat reporters in the media on topics as wide ranging as technology, history, real estate, leadership, management, race and business, gender and business, and even workplace humor. It offers a broad understanding of the nature of things—and the realization that as much as you learn, it is far less than what you don’t know.
I am a storyteller exploring new platforms
I have written for newspapers, magazines, book publishers, museums, encyclopedias and film. I like good stories that haven’t been told, that were never given their due, or that never should be forgotten. I look forward to expanding to other avenues of expression—in particular, live performance. Stay tuned.
It has been an honor
I am thankful for the recognition received in the form of awards and best-seller rankings for work I’ve done as an individual and as part of a team. I am particularly grateful, however, for the honors I’ve enjoyed beyond my career path.
I have had, for example, the privilege to speak from a pulpit of the Riverside Cathedral in Manhattan to eulogize the late Pepsi special-market pioneer Edward Boyd. I also have had the great pleasure to address alumni of my high school in tiny Windham, Ohio, as part of its accomplished-graduate series (that includes a composer, the female CEO of a major company and a MacArthur grant winner, btw). The fundraiser allows scholarships to be given to every high-school graduate who has successfully applied to a program of further education. Love it!
Perhaps closest to my heart, however, has been my invitation each year (accepted whenever possible) to help present on behalf of my mother’s family the annual Scotty Roman Award to a deserving athlete-scholar in Hazleton, Pa. It is named for my late uncle, Michael “Scotty” Roman, an accomplished, triple-sport, much-loved local sports hero who was killed in a mining accident in 1948. He was trying to earn some money between seasons as he worked to become a professional player. The generous scholarship is given each year by the dedicated members of a small men’s organization my uncle helped create post-WWII with a group of veteran friends. The hope is that the money will make life a little less grueling for an aspiring young person no matter his or her aspiration. It is a tribute to hard work, good sportsmanship, family and community. And to this day, whenever a member buys you a drink in the clubhouse, he’ll say, “It’s on Scotty.
‘When you’re young, Beauty makes you love and Ugliness makes you think. Later, Beauty makes you think, Ugliness makes you love.’
— Irini Spanidou