ViewPoint

Oct 01

Storytelling with Sound

By Maura FitzGerald

Telling client stories in new and creative ways is a challenge we embrace at Version 2.0. On Sunday, September 23, the New York Times Magazine demonstrated how innovative and compelling an audience experience can be when storytellers add a new dimension to their art form. In case you missed it, the Times Magazine editorial staff built a soundtrack to accompany 11 spectacular images from across the globe for the annual “Voyages” issue. There was no text to accompany the pictures. Instead, each photograph in the issue corresponded to a number on the soundtrack. Readers had to listen to the soundtrack for the stories and sounds that explained and enriched the visuals. In fact, even the Will Shortz crossword puzzle, always at the end of every issue, had a mix of written clues and clues that required listening.

Following the Magazine’s simple instructions, I accessed the soundtrack at nytimes.com/voyages on my iPad and proceeded to experience not only the sights, but also the sounds, of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, singing Lemurs in Madagascar and the noise and cacophony of the Ojuelegba bus station in Lagos. And those were just three of the fantastic places I saw – and heard – on Sunday morning while sitting at my kitchen counter in my bathrobe sipping coffee.

Times Magazine Editor Jake Silverstein came up with the idea as he considered how the readers’ experience would be enhanced if the combination of sight and sound was used to tell a story and relay an experience. Hearing is one of the first senses we develop at the beginning of life and among the last to turn off at the end. When combined with sight to tell a story, the result is amazing. Log on to nytimes.com/voyages and prepare to be transported… in every way.

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