HuffPo to Raise $15 Million for Local News, Investigative Journalism

The Huffington Post, which is already known as the “most linked to blog on the internet”, has enjoyed a tremendous online traffic and readership boost of late, thanks in no small part to the U.S. election fervour that eclipsed most other major news media stories in recent months.

With Barack Obama confirmed as the 44th President-elect, however, the HuffPo is looking to expand its reach and influence by going after coveted parts of the news landscape and, more importantly, going after more money.

Arianna Huffington’s hugely successful digital-politico web enterprise is expected to announce that it has raised $15 million in funding to pursue expanded local news coverage and investigative journalism.

With an estimated “2.5 million bloggers contributing to it regularly”, a move into local news markets could prove to be both a significant play for increasing its readership and expanding contributor base, as well as a potentially lucrative business move.

What do you think about the HuffPo getting into local news?

Arianna Huffington looks set to cement her position as the Queen of Capitol Hill in the next few days.

The Times has learnt that the Huffington Post, her influential political website, will confirm within the next week that it has completed a $15 million (£10 million) fundraising from investors.

The money will finance the expansion of HuffPo, as it is known, into the provision of local news across the United States and into more investigative journalism. And it will ensure that Ms Huffington’s influence continues to spread across the US political scene.

She is a close friend of Barack Obama, the President-elect – who, with Hillary Clinton, has posted on her site – and, at a dinner in London on Wednesday night, joked: “I only text three people – my two teenage children and Barack Obama.”

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Ms Huffington launched HuffPo, which has about 2.5 million bloggers contributing to it regularly, in May 2005 with $2 million of seed capital. She then raised $5 million in August 2006 from venture capital firms including SoftBank Capital and Greycroft Partners, as well as individuals such as Bob Pittman, the former AOL executive. In a second round of fundraising in September 2007, HuffPo raised a further $5 million.

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