Snapchat might have started off as a photo sharing application on mobile devices, but it has been moving towards diversification for a while now, with new features like Snapchat Stories with user-generated content and Snapchat Discover with news-based content from sites like CNN, ESPN, Vice, People and National Geographic among others. With over 100 million mostly millennial users, Snapchat is said to be valued at between $10 and $20 billion according to most estimates.
Snapchat on their part, has been on a hiring spree as they attempt to move beyond their core functionality of photo and video sharing. It had previously hired executives and advisers from companies like Google, Amazon, Apple and Credit Suisse. Over the past few months, they have been looking at making a foray into the world of serious news and towards that end, had already hired Ellis Hamburger last year from The Verge. Now according to new reports, the company has hired CNN political reporter Peter Hamby as their head of news operations, a move confirmed by all parties involved. Peter Hamby has worked for over ten years with CNN, including two as a producer on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and eight years as a national political reporter.
With online media increasingly becoming the preliminary source of news, journalists have been in high demand from online news outlets and even most tech companies have been on a hiring spree. Ben Smith moved from POLITICO to Buzzfeed in 2011, Dan Roth moved to LinkedIn from Fortune last year and Liz Heron left Wall Street Journal to join Facebook last year as well. As for Mr. Hamby, he will be expected to bring credible news content to Snapchat’s young audiences. He will still continue to appear on CNN as a freelance contributor, although he will no longer officially work at the Atlanta, GA based news organization as an employee.
Speaking about his decision to leave CNN and join Snapchat, Peter Hamby said “It’s bittersweet to leave. I love the place, I love the people … Snapchat is one of the most exciting young companies in the world, it’s a big opportunity and I wanted to go chase this”.