The Election Work Diary of a Reporter With 2.5 Million Subscribers
Peter Hamby hosts “Good Luck America” on Snapchat. “My North Star is really the low-information news consumer,” he says. “That’s not an insult.”
Peter Hamby with his dog, Boone, who loves rocks.Credit…Maggie Shannon for The New York Times
By Katie Robertson
Peter Hamby has found a way to be a political journalist for a new generation.
After covering two presidential campaigns at CNN, he made an unusual career move in 2015: joining the social media app Snapchat. As the host of the platform’s first original series, “Good Luck America,” Mr. Hamby, 39, breaks down the political landscape and coming election for the millions of young people who scroll through the app every day.
“Politics feels existential to them,” Mr. Hamby said. “Climate change feels existential. Going to high school every day with the threat of gun violence is life or death.”
It’s an audience that is most likely not tuning in to cable news bulletins or reading the Sunday New York Times. So he’s meeting these Americans where they are.
“I’m aware of where I stand at Snapchat, and a lot of people don’t think that’s necessarily an ivory tower of journalism, but we are creating journalism that I think is credible and serious,” Mr. Hamby said. “It is insanely important for media organizations to be way more thoughtful, way more creative about creating formats for people that plug into their lives.”
Now based in Los Angeles, Mr. Hamby, who is also a contributing writer for Vanity Fair, is a world away from his former life as a roving campaign reporter.
“I feel like I’ve become smarter about American politics since leaving Washington and leaving the establishment media side of things,” he said.
Interviews are conducted by email, text and phone, then condensed and edited.
9 a.m. Reading The Los Angeles Times and listening to Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” For me, Sundays are for reading, cooking and music — trying to turn off as much as possible. That’s obviously close to impossible with two weeks until a presidential election, but I know I won’t be good during the week if I haven’t taken some time to retreat from Twitter and the political news cycle, which can be pretty mindless sometimes.
10 a.m. Took my dog, Boone, for a walk. He’s a year-and-a-half-old golden retriever. He brought a rock inside. He likes toys, but he loves rocks.
11:20 a.m. Polished off a piece for Vanity Fair about some of the red states that might tip in a fluky wave election. They’re gracious enough to let me write for them when I can find time. “Good Luck America” is obviously a video format, but writing is my first love, so I need an outlet for it.
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