The Morgan Wallen Conundrum and Bringing Tennis to the Visually Impaired: 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 them.

Nearly a year ago, the country superstar Morgan Wallen was caught on tape using a racial epithet and retreated from the spotlight after a rebuke from the music business. In recent months, he has been inching back toward it, via multiple twisted and potholed roads. Wallen is simultaneously, depending on the lens, a hero or a scourge, an upholder of racist hierarchies or someone who works across racial lines, on a rehabilitation tour or just simply on tour, the most dominant musician of 2021 or the most reviled.

Wallen’s second album, “Dangerous: The Double Album,” was the most commercially successful release of last year, with 3.2 million album equivalent units, outpacing Adele, Olivia Rodrigo and even Drake. After his career was put on pause, he went back on the road, sold out arenas and remained, more or less, the most popular performer in country music.

Written and narrated by David Gonzalez

A recent fire in the Bronx claimed 17 lives. It is a horrific tragedy but, as David Gonzalez writes, not without context.

“Those of us who grew up in the South Bronx during the 1970s and ’80s have been defined by the fires that incinerated our neighborhoods, which had already been set up to fail by disinvestment, redlining and eminent domain,” he writes.

“Instead of intergenerational wealth, we inherited trauma. My generation defines itself differently: We are the internally displaced children of the Bronx, uprooted every few years because of fires, decrepit apartments and absent landlords. Our lives were defined by impermanence.”

Written and narrated by Amanda Morris

Rapid, echoing pops go off in Michael Marshall’s ears when he listens to an Australian Open tennis match, followed closely by high- and low-pitched clinks. Three pops on the left signal that the ball landed close to the line; a low-pitched clink means that the player returned it with a backhand stroke.

Without context, these noises might sound like arcade sound effects or some new version of Morse code — but each one is a message meant to help people who are blind or have limited vision follow the game. A new technology, called Action Audio, is being tested on a large scale for the first time at this year’s Australian Open, where every match in the Rod Laver Arena is available on a livestream with this accessibility feature.

Written and narrated by Katherine Rosman

Credit…Chantal Anderson for The New York Times

Kathy Griffin — known for humor that is by turns bawdy and biting, abrasive and self-deprecating, but always skewering of celebrity culture — was never the biggest star on television. But for decades she was certainly ubiquitous.

As a comedian whose job is to push boundaries, Griffin had courted controversy before. While accepting a best-reality-series Emmy in 2007 for “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List,” she said from the stage, “Suck it, Jesus, this award is my god now.” In 2013, while hosting CNN’s New Year’s Eve program from Times Square with Anderson Cooper, she mimicked a sex act on Cooper.

But a 2017 picture in which she posed holding a Halloween mask of President Donald J. Trump’s severed head doused in blood-like ketchup landed her in a different kind of trouble. Since then, Griffin has been seeking a professional rebirth, and wondering who among the canceled gets a second chance.

Written and narrated by Adam Liptak

In her final appearance as a lawyer before the Supreme Court, in 1978, Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued in favor of the equal treatment of women in the justice system. She made her case to nine men.

In the years since, there have been five female justices, including Justice Ginsburg, who served from 1993 until her death in 2020. The current court includes three women.

Women have made less headway on the other side of the bench. In the term that ended in June, just 18 percent of arguments were presented by women, according to data compiled by Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson of Bloomberg Law.

A year before, the figure was 13 percent. Over the past decade, Ms. Robinson found, the percentage of female lawyers presenting arguments at the court ranged from 12 to 22 percent.



The Times’s narrated articles are made by Tally Abecassis, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Aaron Esposito, Elena Hecht, Adrienne Hurst, Elisheba Ittoop, Emma Kehlbeck, Marion Lozano, Tanya Pérez, Krish Seenivasan, Margaret H. Willison, Kate Winslett, John Woo and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, Julia Simon and Desiree Ibekwe.