Eleanor Beardsley Voice Debate

Even though it is liberal, I normally listen to NPR on my short commute to/from work, because the station provides good international news coverage. While doing so, I was immediately drawn to the reports from Eleanor Beardsley, who grew up in South Carolina and reports from France for NPR. Along with her lush descriptions of the environs on which she is reporting, her voice has a conversational, almost rakish feel to it, along with an engaging cadence. Her pronunciations of French words and names are delightful. Here, have a listen (she comes in after an intro):

After listening to that, you may agree with me, or you may vigorously disagree (or disconcur, as I like to say). Like opinions on cupcakes, House Hunters International, or the positioning of the toilet paper roll, views on her voice are sharply divided. "Smashy" shares my opinion:
Beardsley is NPR’s correspondent in Paris and has that best kind of southern accent – one that sounds warm and soothing while never losing the subtle irony and edginess of an intelligent speaker. Think of buttery bread pudding with rum sauce.
Teresa, however, disagrees:
Unfortunately, her style sounds exactly like an affectation — or a somewhat misguided interpretation of how a radio journalist should sound.
What is your opinion? Don't you love it?

While we are on the subject of controversial NPR voices, how about Diane Rehm? Hers is one that I'm opposed to, but the fact that she has a medical condition throws a wrench into that debate.


  1. I agree with you on all counts. It's un-PC to hate on Diane Rehm and as a liberal I have taken an All-PC, All The Time oath, but she makes me stabby. I generally agree with what she has to say though, so I suffer through. I think she has the perfect voice for print media.

  2. [I love NPR.] I like her voice as a voice I wouldn't want myself, but enjoy smiling at as I listen. :)
    However, I wish she wouldn't emphasize the French words quite so much. It kind of makes her sound like she isn't comfortable with the words.

  3. NPR has been 'captured' by the neocons and there is nothing at npr even resembling honest reporting anymore.

    Ok. Maybe I exaggerate a bit, but when it comes to the middle east, it's really no exaggeration to say that NPR has become a channel for
    pro-war disinformation.

    1. I agree that there seems to be a lot of very shallow reporting....like 8thI graders who didn't do the research. Eleanor's stupid report on dog poop in Paris was such a stereotype and a childish ranting. What a bore!!!!

  4. Eleanor Beardsley's voice (specifically, the vocal fry) is not what bothers me. What bothers me is the completely disinterested, annoyed, I'd-rather-be-anywhere-else tone of voice she uses ALL THE TIME including stories involving life-or-death situations. It's like a petulant child saying, exasperated, "OMG NOW will you leave me alone?" Totally inappropriate and unprofessional!

  5. Eleanor Beardley's voice makes me want to destroy my radio. The most horrible voice I have ever heard.