How to Flourish, The Rock for President? and a 7-Eleven Grudge Match: The Week in Narrated Articles

This weekend, listen to a collection of narrated articles from around The New York Times, read aloud by the reporters who wrote the story.

With vaccination rates on the rise, hope is in the air. But after a year of trauma, isolation and grief, how long will it take before life finally feels good?

Post-pandemic, some answers to that question may be in your own hands.

Written and narrated by Jeremy Gordon

“Young Rock,” which has just finished airing its first season on NBC, purports to trace how Dwayne Johnson’s upbringing turned him into the man he is today: a wrestling champion and the highest-paid actor on the planet.

The reason we’re learning about Young Rock’s life is that Johnson is on the campaign trail for the 2032 presidential election.

“Roll your eyes, but accept the possibility,” Jeremy Gordon writes. “Ever since Donald Trump was elected, plenty of charismatic celebrities have been floated as potential candidates.”

Written by Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno | Narrated by Ben Dooley

Across Japan, it can seem as if there’s a 7-Eleven on every corner. Now, on a single corner in a working-class suburb of Osaka, there are two.

Mitoshi Matsumoto, a franchisee, ran a 7-Eleven until the chain revoked his contract in 2019 after he dared to shorten his operating hours. For over a year, his store has sat empty as he and 7-Eleven have battled in court over control of the shop. Fed up and with no end in sight, the company decided on a stopgap: It built a second shop in what used to be Mr. Matsumoto’s parking lot.

A look inside the war between the very powerful company and a very stubborn franchisee, complete with threats, spies and videotape.

Written and narrated by Patricia Mazzei

Centner Academy, a small school in Miami’s trendy Design District, became a national shining light for anti-vaccination activists practically overnight last week.

The school barred teachers newly vaccinated against the coronavirus from being near students. Some parents threatened to withdraw their children. Others clamored to enroll.

They robbed an armored car outside a sprawling Seattle shopping mall. They bombed a synagogue in Boise, Idaho, and within weeks assassinated a Jewish talk radio host in Denver. Then a month later, they plundered another armored car on a California highway.

In 1984, what initially seemed to F.B.I. agents like distant, disparate crimes turned out to be the opening salvos in a war against the federal government by members of a violent extremist group called the Order, who sought to establish a whites-only homeland out West.

Almost four decades after officials dismantled the Order, experts see echoes in the far right of today.

The Times’s narrated articles are made by Parin Behrooz, Carson Leigh Brown, Anna Diamond, Aaron Esposito, Elena Hecht, Emma Kehlbeck, Marion Lozano, Anna Martin, Tracy Mumford, Tanya Perez, Margaret Willison, Kate Winslett, John Woo and Claudine Ebeid McElwain. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, Julia Simon and Desiree Ibekwe.