By Angela Moon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Messaging app Snapchat said on Wednesday it has cut a number of jobs in New York and Los Angeles responsible for pulling together user-generated content in its local stories section, as the company shifts its focus to covering bigger events like award shows and sports.

Snapchat had an undisclosed number of staff members who curated images and videos submitted by users in five cities including New York, Los Angeles and Paris to feature in the local stories section.

The content will now be replaced with big events happening in the area such as the MTV Video Music Awards or the Super Bowl, which are often sponsored.

A source familiar with the matter said about 15 curators who worked local stories have lost their jobs in New York and Los Angeles.

"A small number of Local Story curator positions were eliminated in our Los Angeles and New York offices as the result of changes to our Local Story coverage," Snapchat said in an email statement.

"We're thankful for the contributions from these team members."

Snapchat's free mobile app allows users to send videos, photos and messages that vanish within seconds. It has added advertising and sponsored contents in recent years as its valuation grew to around $18 billion.

Its user base has also gotten older, with nearly 40 percent of users now aged between 25 and 34 in the United States. About 14 percent of users are above 35, according to digital measurer comScore.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by David Gregorio)