Media

Snapchat Just Hired a Big-Time CNN Reporter. Here’s Why

Keep your reporters close, major news outlets. Snapchat’s on the loose, and it’s coming for your top talent.

Last year, Snapchat hired The Verge’s Ellis Hamburger to help build out its publishing arm, and this week, it nabbed political reporter Peter Hamby from CNN’s nest.

Best known for his “Hambycast” digital series, which offers an irreverent look at political hot topics, Hamby will serve as Snapchat’s head of news, a role that is likely connected to the company’s recent attempts to become a publishing platform. Within the past year, the mobile app encouraged users to become storytellers by composing their own Snapchat Stories. Most recently, Snapchat partnered with huge news outlets like ESPN, Comedy Central, and—yes—CNN to launch its Discover feature, which provides curated news for Snapchat’s mobile layout.

Given Hamby’s political reporting background, Snapchat’s new hire could also be a huge asset as the 2016 presidential election gets closer. As Hamby himself noted in a CNN piece this January, Rand Paul signing up for Snapchat is just another sign that audiences and voters want to be engaged on social platforms rather than just television.

A couple of years ago, the idea of a veteran reporter leaving his post at an international news outlet for a job at a social media company would’ve seemed ridiculous. But now, it should make perfect sense.

Competition is getting so tight for attention from users, so social outlets are now providing extra content from seasoned publishers that are brilliant at getting eyeballs on their stories. As Joe Lazauskas wrote here on The Content Strategist, “It’s not that your friend’s seventh blurry Snapchat message from the bar isn’t interesting, it’s just that National Geographic snapped you and—my god—that bear is amazing.”

Who better to curate and create this news content and publishing arm than a veteran journalist? As Mashable points out, we’ve already seen Facebook bring on The Wall Street Journal‘s Liz Heron and LinkedIn hire Fortune.com editor Dan Roth. With more than 100 million users to keep engaged, it’s no surprise that Snapchat has been making huge strides to get into the publishing game as well.

As mentioned, keep an eye on your journalists. Instagram and Pinterest could be coming for them next.

Image by CNN
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