After hiring a serious journalist in Ben Smith as its editor-in-chief, BuzzFeed is getting a serious amount of money to back up his effort in churning out serious journalism from the site that got famous from aggregating LOLcats. Alexia Tsotsis at TechCrunch reports that BuzzFeed has raised $15.5 million in financing from a group of investors that include established media outfits and folks like the Hearst Corporation and Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer. In fact, it looks like BuzzFeed -- created by another HuffPo cofounder, Jonah Peretti, itself -- is getting itself more entangled with the old top brass from HuffPo in the deal. In addition to Lerer, who will now be executive chairman of BuzzFeed, former president of HuffPost Greg Coleman is coming on as an adviser as well. BetaBeat's Ben Popper parses HuffPo-ification of BuzzFeed this way: "It seems like BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti is looking to reunite the dream team that helped launch HuffPo and aiming to use the 2012 elections as a springboard for BuzzFeed, much as Obama’s election back in 2008 pushed HuffPo to new heights." So we should expect more big political scoops from BuzzFeed like last week's, when the site broke that John McCain would endorse Mitt Romney. That along with the LOLcats, of course. Meanwhile, other online journos are agog at the eight-figure deal. Here's what The Awl's Choire Sicha says he'd do with $15.5 million.
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