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Cosmopolitan Editor Joanna Coles on Publishing to Snapchat: 'F*ck It' (Video)

Millennials, millennials, of course.

Asa Mathat for Vox Media

“Fuck it.”

That was the mindset of Cosmo Editor in Chief Joanna Coles when her print publication, owned by Hearst, decided they wanted to participate in Snapchat’s publishing section Discover, an area of the app where publishers hand over professionally produced content every single day in exchange for more eyeballs and some extra ad revenue.

“If it doesn’t work, who cares? We’ll try it,” she recalled thinking, speaking onstage Wednesday afternoon to kick off Re/code’s annual Code/Media conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, Calif. “We’re incredibly glad that we did.”

Coles, an outspoken Brit now living in New York, says that Snapchat’s content, both user and publisher related, is in a league of its own. She recalled a story about her son receiving Snaps from a friend sitting by her dying mother’s bedside.

“This was not something you could have done on Instagram. It’s not something you could have done on Facebook,” she said. “It was such an intimate form of communication. … It felt like a very interesting new moment in what something like Snapchat can do.”

Coles likes the app enough that she joined Snapchat’s board in January, adding another media perspective to go alongside media exec Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has been open about the company’s media ambitions. It partnered with the NFL on a media deal this fall and has 20 publishers creating (mostly) original content for its platform every single day.

Among them, of course, is Cosmo. Publishers have been eager to get into Discover, and the ones that Re/code has spoken with are pretty content with the audience they’ve been able to reach — mobile-happy millennials. Coles apparently agrees.

“Cosmo has a millennial voice,” she said.

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