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Can a Friendship Offer Redemption?: 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.

Friendships can be hard to memorialize — relatives, partners and children often take pride of place. But a friendship can be the defining bond in a person’s life, offering a kinship that family cannot, a refuge through lonely, hungry days.

But can a friendship offer redemption for your worst mistakes?

In helping a newcomer to New York, Tin Chin found friendship and, perhaps, absolution for his own errors.

November’s midterm elections are still months away, but to many conservative commentators, the fix is already in. Democrats have cheated before, they say, and they will cheat again. Never mind that the claims are false.

Mentions of “Democrats cheating” and similar ideas were raised more than 5,000 times on syndicated radio shows and local broadcasts this year, according to an analysis of data by Critical Mention, a media-monitoring service. During the same period, similar ideas were mentioned a few hundred times on television shows and podcasts tracked by Critical Mention.

Radio remains perhaps the most influential conduit for right-wing thought, despite the rise of podcasts and social media.

Written and narrated by Lydia DePillis

Jill Cataldo is a master of coupons.

She began cutting them out to save a dollar here and 50 cents there during the Great Recession, when she had two children in diapers and money was tight. Beginning with a training session at the library in her Chicago suburb, she started sharing what she learned with others, and now has a syndicated column and a website in which she writes about coupon deals and other ways to spend less.

The pandemic, however, upended Ms. Cataldo’s world. Coupon inserts in the Sunday newspaper seemed flimsier. Even previously popular digital coupons were hard to come by.

The steepest rise in the cost of living in four decades is making bargains even more coveted. But coupons are more scarce. In 2021, 168 billion circulated across both print and digital formats, Kantar Media estimates. That was down from about 294 billion in 2015.

Written and narrated by Ron Lieber

Exit Fort Campbell from Gate 5 and Jenna’s Adult Superstore is right across the street. On either side are easy ways to lose your shirt.

Turn left and there’s a casino. Turn right and there are miles of businesses catering to — or preying on — financially inexperienced soldiers with money in their pockets for the first time.

The wide boulevard along Fort Campbell’s front wall is lined with places to get into debt, or worse.

For soldiers, some still in their teens, the dozens of financial services operators that surround Fort Campbell and other military outposts are a gantlet to run every time they step off government property. The results are alarming: The base’s own newspaper reported that in recent years, 40 percent of its soldiers had taken out at least one predatory loan. Often, they owe the loans to business owners who were once in the military themselves.

Written and narrated by Hannah Beech

In the 25 years since Britain returned Hong Kong to China, the only constant has been change, both defined and defied by the people of Queen’s Road, Hong Kong’s most storied avenue. All around them, a city has been transformed: by the dizzying economic expansion of mainland China threatening to make this international entrepôt unnecessary, but also by the crushing of freedoms by Hong Kong’s current rulers, who have filled jails with young political prisoners.

The Times’s narrated articles are made by Tally Abecassis, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Aaron Esposito, Dan Farrell, 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.

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