New York Times Magazine this weekend is a groundbreaking audio/visual journey

Readers become listeners as they are presented with a nearly text-free magazine
Readers become listeners as they are presented with a nearly text-free magazine.

Check out what the New York Times is doing this weekend with its Sunday Magazine! In what they call an “Ears Wide Open” experiment, this bold and innovative issue immerses readers in photographs and sound.

This weekend, Times subscribers will find something unexpected when they open up their Sunday Magazine. In a first for the magazine, the popular fall Voyages issue features almost no text. It’s a gallery of photographs from all over the world, with a corresponding soundtrack that helps readers understand what it is they’re looking at.

Readers become listeners as they are presented with a nearly text-free magazine.
Readers become listeners as they are presented with a nearly text-free magazine.

This year’s Voyages issue takes audiences on a sonic journey to 11 places around the world as they listen to the sounds and immerse themselves in the photographs captured by photojournalists. Readers will hear sounds like the earth cracking in Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the biggest deserts in the world, the roar of the Dettifoss waterfall in Iceland, the wind blowing through the leaves of a giant Aspen grove in Utah, and the reverberations inside the Gol Gumbaz mausoleum in India.

“When we travel, we generally think about what we want to see, or experience, or eat, or something like that,” said editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein. “But there’s so much we can learn about the world based only on what we hear.”

Each of the destinations in this issue corresponds to an audio segment on an accompanying soundtrack. These segments contain not only the unique sounds of the locations but also commentary from experts that will help you understand what it is readers are looking at.

Readers (and listeners) will also be delighted to find a bonus puzzle in the magazine this week, created especially for the audio edition of the Voyages issue. Narrated by The Times’s crossword editor Will Shortz, this puzzle is the first of its kind that The Times has produced and contains a mix of print and audio clues. To listen to the audio clues, which will test players’ ability to discern noises, songs and other sonic phenomena, visit nytimes.com/voyages and look for Track 12: “audio crossword.”

Click here to take a look behind the scenes at the issue, with Silverstein and Gail Bichler, design director.

“We’ve never done anything like this before,” said Silverstein. “It’s definitely an experiment in magazine-making, but that’s what we love to do.”

Building on a strong legacy of innovation in brand storytelling, GE is the exclusive sponsor of this Voyages issue. With three unique stories across print and audio, GE provides a fully native integration. Audiences are invited to experience the world of energy like never before, seeing the sights and hearing the sounds of GE technology in action. In partnership with T Brand Studio and agency Giant Spoon, producers traveled to Chile, Uganda and the North Sea to highlight GE’s Power and Renewable Energy businesses.

To celebrate the innovative issue, Jake will host a special launch event on Sept. 20 at the French Institute Alliance Francaise in New York City. Guests will be treated to a performance of the audio and photography from the issue, and hear from soundscape ecologists about the ways that listening to the world can inform our scientific understanding of phenomena like climate change.

Readers and listeners can immerse themselves in this special issue starting Saturday, Sept. 22 at nytimes.com/voyages. The soundtrack will also be available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

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