Snapchat Poaches Top CNN Reporter Peter Hamby

The political correspondent will be taking his talents to Snapchat as Head of News.

Snapchat Poaches Top CNN Reporter Peter Hamby

Back in January, Snapchat launched its Discover channel, which nestled content from outlets such as CNN, Vice, ESPN, and Comedy Central into the Snapchat ecosystem. The launch of Discover served as yet another signal that Snapchat aims to become more than simply a platform for ephemeral photo and video sharing. In fact, roughly one million viewers now tune into CNN’s Discover tab every day, according to the New York Times. So perhaps it’s only natural given such reach that the company poached acclaimed CNN political reporter Peter Hamby to head up its news operations.

Peter HambyPhoto: Via CNN

It’s not yet clear exactly what Hamby’s role will involve (he will remain a CNN contributor through 2016), though a move like this isn’t unprecedented. There are many examples of media stars hopping to hot startups, whether ex-Gawker writer Neetzan Zimmerman’s short-lived stint at Whisper, or BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith’s more fruitful exit from Politico to help create a “social news organization.” At the time, BuzzFeed was known for little more than its listicles and viral content aggregation.

As Hamby points out, Snapchat could very well change the news landscape, even in the face of hot new live-streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat:

“Snapchat is one of the most exciting young companies in the world. They have a big and growing audience, and we’ve seen Discover is a huge success. Their live stories around big events, around places both here and abroad, the potential to take users to new places — we can see some application of that with news.”

Periscope, in particular, has picked up steam since its launch and proven to be a compelling supplement to existing media coverage, mainly due to its real-time nature and support from Twitter. But Snapchat has its advantages: It has the potential to cull crowdsourced content and string it together in one place, saving you the trouble of, say, hunting down individual live streams on Periscope or Twitter. As Snapchat expands its news operation, it could loop Stories into its Discover tab, perhaps giving media outlets the ability to weave together their real-time coverage with user-generated content that isn’t currently available outside of Snapchat’s mobile platform.

As Re/code noted last month, Discover has also helped Snapchat monetize, and reportedly brings publishers $50,000 to $100,000 a day for their content. Ad pricing is said to be about $100 for every thousand views, “a rate that’s something like twice what a premium video publisher can get, and many times what a mere Web publisher can command.”

Between his years of digital media experience and Snapchat’s muscle in the social space, there’s significant opportunity for Hamby in his new role.

[via The Verge]

About the author

Pavithra Mohan is an assistant editor for Fast Company Digital. Her writing has previously been featured in Gizmodo and Popular Science magazine.