Over two years after a rare disease took his voice, WSB Radio’s Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree is determined to be heard again.
And last Wednesday, Jamie’s Capitol Hill colleagues recognized his determination and honored him with a ‘Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Reporting on Congress.’
"When life said to be quiet, Jamie found a way to speak louder than ever before," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) said to members of the Radio and TV Congressional Correspondent's Association. "He is an example for every American faced with overwhelming adversity."
Doctors say a rare neurological condition is making it difficult for Jamie’s brain to tell his tongue what to do while speaking.
He now uses a special voice app developed by a company in Scotland, CereProc, which allows him to use a simple text-to-speech program to generate news reports in his old voice.
"Jamie is not one to step down in the face of adversity," added Ros-Lehtinen, who used a House floor speech in 2017 to raise awareness about Jamie's medical plight.
In remarks delivered for him by CNN correspondent Dana Bash, Jamie encouraged his colleagues to look past the political debate over fake news.
"My advice is simple – ignore that talk. Work harder. Do your jobs even better," Dupree said, adding, "Smother your viewers with specifics.
“Overwhelm your listeners with facts. Drench your readers in details.”
Jamie has spent more than three decades covering Capitol Hill.
He is now hoping specialists at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta will help him figure out why he lost his voice. And the reporter in him has not quit.
“He still does interviews; he feeds us audio,” WSB Radio News Director Chris Camp says, adding, “He may not be able to talk, but boy you can hear him awful loud.”
Jamie is thankful to all who have wished him well. While the condition has obviously affected his job, that is not what he says hurts him the most.
“Think about not being able to talk to your kids, or your wife or your father or your friends. While my work is hard and different, life is about a lot more than that.”
Jamie says Emory researchers are trying a new treatment that will slow down the movement of his tongue to make it easier for him to speak. In the meantime, he wants everyone to know his overall health is good.
"I've always said Jamie is the most valuable on-air presence on our stations, and he still is,” WSB Radio anchor Chris Chandler says. “There's not a word of news from Washington that he hasn't reported and broken down for us.”
Get Jamie Dupree's take on what's happening in Washington delivered to your inbox every weekday by clicking here.