Snapchat collaborates with 4 US university papers to make campus editions for its Discover section

Snapchat, created by Stanford University’s former students: Evan Spiegel, Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy, has gone really far from a striking messaging and photo-sharing app to representing a current mobile-first direction towards the world of social media.

With its latest collaboration with university newspapers to generate local Discover Stories, Snapchat revealed that each campus would have an editorial team that would curate weekly news intended for distribution on the mobile platform.

The Partnerships

From an exclusive list of the app’s publishing partners, the student newspapers will generate one story (i.e., professionally produced videos and news articles) each week that will include ads. These editions will be monetized, and the revenue generated from the ads will be split between the university paper and the mobile app company. How the split is going to be done is not yet revealed, however.

The Experiment

The mobile app’s latest initiative includes university reporters, editors, and journalists who are to submit news and stories for its Discover section. These creative pieces should be like those of magazine-style editions such as BuzzFeed, Vice, The Daily Mail, The New York Times, and a lot more.

The company’s spokesperson confirmed that Snapchat soft-launched the university publisher feature last spring and was tested at Stanford, Dartmouth, and UCLA, among others.

Discover Stories

The mobile app company has dropped hyper-localized stories into its Discover feed for the first time, which will merely be available to a certain university campus.

Snap Inc. is driven harder to bring out actual news inside Discover. In the last two months, it has established two daily news shows: one produced by NBC and the other by CNN. The company is already creating its own political news production, which is called “Good Luck America.”

This strategy is Snapchat’s latest move in terms of beefing up the content of its Discover section — giving more emphasis on news.

Since Snapchat is very popular among college students, the thought of partnering with these university papers sprouted when more and more U.S. citizens are getting their dose of daily news from social media than ever before.

According to Pew Research Center’s data, two-thirds of Americans get some news from social networks. As the figures show, 29 percent of Snapchat’s users get their news from the mobile app – quite an increase compared to last year’s 17 percent. Thus, a good portion of the mobile app’s users want news, and the company is just trying to target what their customers exactly need.

Meet the Four University Papers 

Snapchat starts with Discover section by collaborating with four university papers. These are the “The Battalion” from Texas A&M, “The Daily Californian” from UC Berkeley, “The Badger Herald” from Wisconsin-Madison and “The Daily Orange” from Syracuse.

Snap’s spokesperson said that the company plans to get more than a couple of dozens in a total of university papers in the next three months. Its Discover Stories will be “geofenced” so that they will only be available to users who are “physically present” at each university campus.

How Universities Prepare Their Weekly Discover News

“The Badger Herald” editor-in-chief Alice Vagun has expressed that she anticipates a “flood” of students to be focused in aiding of putting together their weekly Snapchat edition. She has also said that the university paper has already chosen a dedicated Snapchat editor and brought on a couple of part-time animators to generate graphics for their content.

The school paper’s Snapchat stories will be a combination of repurposed stories from the newspaper, along with unique content for the mobile app. The publication has already been working with Snap for months to make the right kind of content that inspires students to share or screenshot stories with their friends in the app.

As university stories will only be visible to Snapchat users within a few blocks of the campus, every student publication can share a yellow QR “Snapcode” that people — who are outside the campus — can scan the app’s camera to read the content.



Stanford University

Pew Research Center

The Badger Herald