Snapchat hires CNN political reporter Peter Hamby for news operation

Peter Hamby, an early adopter of social media at CNN, is going to work for Snapchat

CNN national political reporter Peter Hamby is joining Snapchat Inc. as head of news.

Hamby, who joined CNN nearly a decade ago, becomes the most notable hire for Snapchat’s months-old media-partnerships operation. The Venice start-up’s app introduced a section in January for its mostly young users to get a pinch of news from sources such as CNN, National Geographic and People. It added to Snapchat’s core functionality: Sharing photos and videos to friends or even to all users. The fast-rising company has already brought in executives and advisers who were once at Amazon, Google, Credit Suisse and Apple.

CNN described Hamby as an early adopter of social media. On a fellowship at Harvard University two years ago, Hamby wrote a paper — “Did Twitter Kill the Boys on the Bus” — on the role the social media service played in the 2012 presidential election. He’ll remain a contributor to CNN Digital on contract through 2016.

“CNN is proud to be one of the first news organizations to partner with Snapchat; and now we’re sharing one of our best and brightest with them,” CNN officials said in a memo to staff Monday morning.

Snapchat’s news section, called Discover, has been drawing millions of viewers and significant advertising spending.

Samantha Barry, CNN’s senior director of strategy, said in an interview last month that she had dedicated at least three people to produce content for Snapchat. New stories, typically a mix of articles and videos, are posted to CNN’s page on Discover at 2 p.m. each day. On Sunday, CNN dedicated all six stories to the issue of climate change.

The goal is to only show content that will resonate with Snapchat’s mostly under-35 audience.

“When they get into the edition, they stay for the whole edition,” Barry said. “It opens up huge revenue opportunities.”

Last month, Re/Code, citing “industry sources,” reported that advertisers were paying 10 cents a view to advertise within Discover.

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