Dazzling Skies, U.F.O. Sightings and Real-Life Monsters: The Week in Narrated Articles

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

Written and narrated by Brooke Jarvis

At around 9 o’clock on the night of March 25, the sky above Brooke Jarvis’s house in Seattle lit up with an astonishing display. “It looked like the world’s largest and longest-lasting firework, or a huge shower of comets hitting all at once,” Brooke wrote.

People all across the Pacific Northwest were posting videos of the fantastical brightness on Twitter. For a few dazzling moments, they had no idea what they were witnessing, but they shared a once-common human emotion: awe at the wonder of the heavens.

Written and narrated by Sarah Maslin Nir

In 2020, New Yorkers reported nearly twice as many sightings of mysterious objects in the sky. But according to ufologists (those who study U.F.O.s), the trend is not necessarily the result of an alien invasion. Rather, it was most likely caused in part by another invader: the coronavirus.

Written and narrated by Austin Considine

Want to hear a scary story? Here’s one: A family reckoning with a senseless, pervasive horror flees home to what they hope will be a place of safety and prosperity, only to find themselves pursued by that same demented presence.

In the 10-part Amazon series “Them,” the victims are a middle-class Black family in the 1950s; the senseless horror is the racism of their white neighbors, who want them out. The series “uses horror-genre conventions as allegorical octane for racist machinery that is all too real,” Austin Considine writes in his review.

What’s in a name? Apparently plenty for the members of the Sackler family. For years, their company Purdue Pharma had been in the news for creating OxyContin — the powerful painkiller that ushered in a new era of both pain management and opioid addiction — while the Sackler name remained better known for philanthropy.

In “Empire of Pain,” the author Patrick Radden Keefe “tells the story of how the Sackler family became a decisive force in a national tragedy,” Jennifer Szalai writes in her book review.

Written and narrated by Edmund Lee

At a time when the U.S. population is growing more racially diverse, older white men still make up the largest chunk of The Wall Street Journal’s readership, with retirees a close second. Some newsroom employees say change is crucial to the paper’s survival, but executives in the top ranks of the company aren’t yet convinced.

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 and John Woo. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, Julia Simon and Desiree Ibekwe.

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