Liberal news site The Huffington Post may just have expanded into eco-news, but the downtown New York-based company isn't stopping there: Local news sites are on the way, starting with a Chicago edition. And it will be raising more venture money to fund the expansion.
Huffington Post co-founder and namesake Arianna Huffington made the announcement at a conference hosted by the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, which published a story Thursday. A Huffington Post representative confirmed the news to CNET News.com later that day.
The company is not yet announcing any partnerships with local news outlets, and according to the Guardian, the Chicago edition of the site will have only one editor to start. But "dozens" of future city editions are on the way, Huffington said.
It's crucial for the Huffington Post to lock down a solid audience, considering it began as a left-leaning political news outlet and some critics have been concerned that it will see a major drop in traffic after the 2008 U.S. election. But representatives have said that half the site's traffic now comes from outside the "Politics" section, and adding local news to the mix (if it proves successful) will mean more from beyond the election-junkie crowd.
The round of venture capital to finance this development is the Huffington Post's third, following $5 million in 2006 and $5 million in 2007. The company's lead investor is Softbank Capital, and additional capital has come from Greycroft Partners and former AOL execs Ken Lerer (a Huffington Post co-founder) and Bob Pittman of the Pilot Group.
Earlier this month, the Silicon Alley Insider reported that the Huffington Post was looking to raise about $10 million, bringing its valuation to $80 million.
This post was updated to add additional detail about the Huffington Post's venture round.