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Excellence in Innovation
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Excellence in Innovation

Excellence in Innovation

Excellence in Innovation

In mid-2016, WSB’s much respected and well-loved 30-year Washington Correspondent Jamie Dupree lost his voice after falling ill on a family vacation. His voice didn’t come back. It took a year of visits to specialists around the country to diagnose the problem—a rare neurological condition called “tongue protrusion dystonia”. No treatment has worked. While Jamie continued blogging, tweeting, and proving invaluable behind-the-scenes guidance, his absence from the air was obviously a major blow to our news coverage, particularly during the 2016 presidential campaign. 

A House floor mention of Jamie’s condition by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen led to CNN, Politico, and The Washington Post picking up his story. And as it became clear that his voice wasn’t returning, our Cox Media Group tech gurus discovered a potentially-pioneering approach to getting Jamie back on the air. They sent years’ worth of his old radio reports to a software company in Scotland. Using hundreds of clips to isolate letters, syllables, and words, Jamie’s voice was essentially re-created electronically. Text-to-voice software then allows him to type his reports, run them through what we dubbed “Jamie Dupree 2.0”, then send them to us as audio. 

The newsroom’s issue was how to handle Jamie’s return. We wanted to celebrate the moment without seeming exploitive, and the initial electronic voice was jarring enough that listeners would certainly realize it wasn’t real. We determined the answer was simply to cover it as a news story, blanketing it across all platforms and being as transparent as possible with our audience. Below are samples of the radio, web, and video coverage dating June 18, 2018. 

News-Talk listeners are not known for being bashful with their opinions, and station management had some trepidation about the reaction to the simulated voice. But it was met with genuinely overwhelming affection and encouragement from the audience, and we feel the notably small number of questions or complaints was due partly to our use of every available platform to explain the story. 

(And an update: gathering this material, we were startled to remember just how robotic the original electronic voice sounded. As you will hear in other contest entries, by the end of the year, with some tweaking, you’d never know it’s not Jamie speaking—and everybody at WSB continues to hope and pray that someday soon we’ll hear Jamie’s *real* voice on the air again).

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Radio Coverage:

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Video Coverage:

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Online Coverage:

Back on the air with Jamie Dupree 2.0

Without a voice, DC reporter Jamie Dupree's work still resonates across the US

My own State of the Union – still looking for voice answers

Read More

News

  • The Grant County Sheriff's Office released drug bust numbers Tuesday from the 2019 Paradiso Festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre.  Paradiso is an annual electric arts music festival that began in in 2012. >> Read more trending news  According to the Grant County Sheriff's Office, 38 drugs busts were made on 97 felony charges. The office said none were simple possession busts.  In addition to the busts, deputies also seized LSD, mushrooms, cocaine, steroids, ketamine, the drug known as 'Molly,' money and a firearm.  The Moses Lake Police Department, Yakima City, the Columbia River Drug Task Force, the Washington State Patrol and Adams County were also involved. 
  • Texas police arrested a man they said was using fake identification to cash checks, KHOU reported. >> Read more trending news  The Fort Bend County Constable's Office, Precinct 2, posted photos of the suspect, who was not identified, in a Facebook post. The man was arrested at a Regions Bank in Katy on Wednesday, KHOU reported. He was charged with using a fraudulent ID and theft, the television station said.  Police said $6,200 in cash was recovered. According to authorities, the man had 'multiple fake IDs' and had gone to several banks in the area. 'This is a rare occurrence but our quick response caught him in the act,' the Constable's Office posted on Facebook.
  • Authorities arrested an 11th person Tuesday in connection with the ambush shooting last week of former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic. >> Read more trending news  Prosecutors are expected to release more information at a news conference scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to CNN. An unidentified official told The Associated Press that Franklin Junior Merán was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of renting one of the cars used in the June 9 shooting in Santo Domingo. Ten other suspects have already been ordered to spend a year in preventive detention as the investigation continues, including the accused shooter. Authorities say they are looking for at least three other suspects, including the man they believe paid the hit men. Ortiz continued recovering Wednesday in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said doctors upgraded Ortiz’s condition to good Tuesday. “We remain grateful to everyone who has helped David through this ordeal, both in the Dominican Republic and here in Boston,” Tiffany Ortiz said in a statement released by the Red Sox. “David’s journey to good health has been bolstered by the many expressions of love that have come to us from across the globe. Your support has lifted his spirits tremendously during this challenging time.” Authorities continue to investigate. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A warning about a popular payment app used by big banks like Capital One, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and PNC Bank. Many people are seeing their money disappear and the banks are doing little or nothing to get your money back.
  • Three Arizona teenagers are accused of setting off fireworks that sparked a brush fire in north Phoenix, police said. >> Read more trending news  The teens, all 16, were questioned by police Tuesday, KNXV reported. According to Phoenix Fire officials, the two-alarm fire burned up and over a nearby mountain, KSAZ reported. However, crews were able to put out the fire before it threatened a nearby neighborhood, according to KNXV. The teens admitted to lighting the fireworks, Phoenix Fire Capt. Rob McDade told the television station. “The first thing I thought was oh my God is that my house? Is it my dog? What’s going on?' Jordan Sims, who lives nearby told KNXV. 'It puts you kind of in like a panic mode, like am I going to have to pick everything up and get out of here within the next 30 minutes? We probably would not have been prepared for that.” It is illegal in Arizona to set off fireworks until June 24. “It’s illegal to set them off, it’s illegal to start a fire. They did admit to it pretty early so I think right now we are working with their parents and the fire investigators trying to figure out what really should be done out here,' McDade told KNXV. “I'm sure the thrill of lighting off fireworks sounds pretty good -- but you have to understand --- I mean even at the age of 16, this is a high brush(fire) season. All everything wants to do is catch on fire right now.”
  • A Wisconsin man allegedly told police it was 'a beautiful ride.' >> Read more trending news  Authorities, however, were not amused when Matthew R. Wilson, 51, took a sailboat from the Sheboygan Yacht Club for a joyride, the Sheybogan Press reported. According to a criminal complaint, Wilson, who is homeless, was charged Tuesday with theft of more than $100,000 and criminal damage to property, the newspaper reported. Sheboygan police were called to a Coast Guard station Saturday regarding the theft of the 40-foot Tartan 4000.sailboat, which is valued between $400,000 and $450,000, WITI reported. According to the criminal complaint, Wilson told police he had been kicked out of the Salvation Army because he was intoxicated, WISN reported.. He went from boat to boat in the marina until he found one open. the television station reported. According to police, Wilson found the keys and started the boat's engine before driving it away from the marina. Wilson said when he went to roll a cigarette, the boat ran ashore, WISN reported. Wilson was identified as the only person on the boat. The sailboat was ultimately towed back to the Coast Guard station. According to court documents, Wilson told police 'It was a beautiful ride. It was a beautiful ride, at least,' when he was taken into custody, the Press reported. An officer said there were scuff marks on the boat's hull, a gouge on the stern and partially consumed beer cans on deck, according to the criminal complaint. Wilson's preliminary breath test registered at .162, which is double the legal limit in Wisconsin, WITI reported. Wilson made a court appearance Tuesday. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 26, the television reported.