A Late-Pandemic Commute, Feeding Hate on YouTube and the Mariachis Unsilenced by Covid: 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.

“After more than a year since my last rush-hour train, I found myself suppressing the muscle memory of contact sports as I laid claim to a throne in a car with just two other passengers,” writes Dan Barry. “The blue seats were the same, the clouded windows, the air-conditioning hush; yet it felt as though I’d boarded a train in another country.”

In his essay on a return to New Jersey Transit, Dan meditates on the nature of the post-pandemic commute.

Written and narrated by Anna Schaverien

When it comes to redrawing nations’ borders, scores of diplomats can spend years painstakingly hashing out every inch of the dividing line. For the border between France and Belgium to be redrawn, all it seemingly took was one farmer.

Apparently frustrated by a 200-year-old stone border marker, a Belgian farmer dug it out and moved it about seven feet into French territory, thus slightly enlarging his own land as well as the entire country of Belgium.

Written and narrated by Cade Metz

Focus on conflict. Feed the algorithm. Make sure whatever you produce reinforces a narrative. Don’t worry if it is true.

Caolan Robertson produced videos for a who’s who of right-wing YouTube personalities on both sides of the Atlantic, including Lauren Southern, Stefan Molyneux and Alex Jones. The videos were tailored for the “echo chamber” that is often created by social media networks like YouTube.

In time, Mr. Robertson said, he realized that the videos he worked on stoked dangerous hatred. Now he is detailing the ways he and his collaborators searched for confrontations to gain popularity on YouTube.

Written and narrated by Christina Morales

The calendars of mariachi bands nationwide used to be full of dates for weddings, quinceañeras and serenades where the vigorous music of Mexican culture helped enliven some of life’s most joyous moments.

With the onset of the pandemic, those opportunities disappeared, leaving behind only the funerals — the mounting number of funerals — that have kept some mariachis from financial ruin.

When leaving the Dominican Republic to play baseball in the United States with a high school diploma, Ubaldo Jiménez promised his mother he’d continue his education.

All these years later — after 12 major league seasons, a World Series appearance, a no-hitter and more than $65 million in career earnings — Jiménez, 37, kept his word and accomplished something rare among professional baseball players: He received a college degree.

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