Technology Helps a Reporter Speak

Jamie Dupree, who covers politics for Cox Media Group, lost his voice in 2016. 

Imagine waking up one day to find that you’ve lost the ability to speak. That was the case for broadcast journalist Jamie Dupree. Born in Washington, D.C., Dupree has been reporting political news for Cox Media Group since 1989.  

After a vacation in 2016, Dupree began to have trouble speaking. Then his voice disappeared completely. After seeing several doctors, he was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called tongue protrusion dystonia.  

“The best way to describe what has gone wrong with my voice is that for some reason, the signals between my brain and my throat have become scrambled," Dupree told me recently via email. “My voice does not work.”


“Don’t give up," Dupree advises. “I see too many people who give up too easily.”


Dupree tried several different treatments to improve his ability to speak, but none worked. He wondered how he would be able to continue his reporting career.

“I spent a lot of time looking for the exact type of technology,” Dupree writes. Ultimately, a combination of thousands of recordings of his voice, artificial intelligence, and an app made by CereProc, a tech company in Scotland, helped create “Jamie Dupree 2.0.” 

“I may be the only reporter doing something like this right now,” said Dupree, who is based in Washington, D.C. “But I hope there will be other companies offering similar software in the future.” 



After two years of being off the air, Dupree is again reporting. Occasionally, he can blurt out a few words but is then unable to repeat them. The phenomenon, he writes, “is a medical mystery.”

Despite these obstacles, Dupree perseveres. “What keeps me going?” he writes. “That would be my job. When you have three kids between 11 and 15, you’re working as hard as you can to help your family. Suddenly, my life was derailed four years ago, not because I did anything wrong at work, but because my body stopped working correctly.”  

Not being able to talk affects what Dupree “can and can’t do every hour of the day.” But, he added, “life hasn’t changed that much. I still read and read and read and read. The biggest change is that it takes longer for me to assemble my radio stories.”

As for what the future holds, “I always hope that my voice will come back,” Dupree said. “But right now, I would say that there’s a better chance of me getting an upgraded computer voice than an upgraded real voice.”

Meanwhile, Dupree is preparing to cover the presidential election. “The plan for this year is exactly the plan for 2016 and every campaign back to 1992,” Dupree said. “Get out on the road to follow the campaign in a variety of states, go to the political conventions, and [cover] the fall debates. It should be an interesting year, to say the least.”

When asked his advice for others facing adversity, Dupree said, “Don’t give up. I see too many people who give up too easily, even when they have the ability to do something.”

Photos courtesy of Jamie Dupree