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Winning Streaks on ‘Jeopardy!’ and Taking a Juilliard Rejection to TikTok: 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.

When Amy Schneider became the fourth contestant in the history of “Jeopardy!” to surpass $1 million in winnings in regular-season play last week, she extended her winning streak to 28 games. It was a remarkable milestone for Schneider, who last month became the woman with the most consecutive wins on the program.

Her victory came as long winning streaks have grown more common on “Jeopardy!” — there even seem to be streaks of streaks.

Since “Jeopardy!” got rid of a rule in 2003 that had limited contestants to no more than five wins in a row, only a dozen contestants have managed to win 10 or more games in a row. Half of the dozen, or six streaks, have occurred in the past five years, while half of those six have been this season.

On Monday morning, Axel Webber, a 22-year-old from Cumming, Ga., a town outside Atlanta, posted a TikTok updating his followers on an audition he’d completed the day before on Zoom for the Juilliard School’s undergraduate drama program. For the past month, Mr. Webber had used the platform to talk about his dreams of attending the prestigious, highly competitive drama school and the big audition that was required for the admissions process.

When the verdict from Juilliard came in, Mr. Webber pulled up the message on his computer and read it aloud for his audience of 2.4 million followers on TikTok. It was a rejection. “Thanks for watching the journey,” he said.

On Monday night, tens of thousands of Mr. Webber’s fans flooded Juilliard’s Instagram account to express their anger. While fans leveraged TikTok to wage their campaign, other celebrities and influencers got involved as well.

Written and narrated by Anna Katherine Clemmons

Hellah Sidibe realized he was a streaker on his 163rd consecutive day of running.

A former professional soccer player, he had decided five months earlier to try to run 10 minutes a day for two weeks straight. The distance didn’t matter as long as he ran every day.

Once he started, on May 15, 2017, he didn’t want to stop. In the 1,692 days since, he has become one of the sport’s most recognizable, and influential, run streakers, a designation loosely defined as an athlete who runs on consecutive days for a set period.

Streaking has become an increasingly popular phenomenon within running circles. Whether running one mile a day or 20, streakers advocate consistency, and often lean on one another for motivation.

According to Streak Runners International and the United States Running Streak Association, some people have exceeded five decades of streaking. Atop the active run streak list is Jon Sutherland, 71, who has run for 19,211 consecutive days, or 52.6 years. And (most likely) counting.

Written and narrated by Max Fisher

Kazakhstan’s explosion into unrest presents a stark warning to the strongman autocrats of the world: Leaving office is perilous.

Since the end of the Cold War, 70 percent of governments headed by strongmen collapsed after the ruler departed, according to one data set. The trend holds whether the leader leaves voluntarily or involuntarily, dies in office or retires to a country home.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s lifelong leader until he began gradually handing power to a successor in 2019, was, by all appearances, keenly aware of this problem. He stage-managed his departure in ways that suggest painstaking attention to the lessons of history, and his transition was watched closely in Moscow and other capitals as a potential model.

His departure does not appear to have specifically set off Kazakhstan’s protests. But the unrest, the government’s failure to maintain support and now its flailing response are typical of the divided, disoriented bureaucracies that often falter after a strongman’s departure.

Written and narrated by Damien Cave

Last week, Novak Djokovic received bad news — his entry visa into Australia was canceled and he was being detained, despite his arrival with a medical exemption from the country’s vaccine mandate for international visitors.

Soon after the news, Prime Minister Scott Morrison jumped on Twitter to announce the tennis superstar’s comeuppance. At first, the visa cancellation for a celebrity opponent of Covid vaccines must have looked like an obvious political winner. And with an election on the way by May, Mr. Morrison was returning to a well-tested tactic: stirring voter support with appeals to tough border enforcement.

Now that Mr. Djokovic has been released and his visa restored, Mr. Morrison’s eagerness to portray him as an arrogant violator of Australia’s egalitarian ideals has started to look like an unforced error. Australians are now debating the fairness and competence of its government and questioning the priorities of its top leader.



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.

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