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Anyone who has hankered for a list of 10 of the most life-affirming dog rescue stories ever can rely on the social media site BuzzFeed.

That list of 11 classic horror films that should never have been remade? That's from BuzzFeed too.

BuzzFeed's digital traffic is stratospheric: It cites Google Analytics figures that show it drew more than 130 million unique visitors to its site last month. But the social media outfit is in the process of building up a team of journalists to offer original news reporting, raising questions of just what it intends to be.

"When we look at with whom we're really competing — look at The New York Times, look at The Guardian — these are stories that people are sharing," says Ben Smith, the charismatic BuzzFeed editor-in-chief hired away from Politico two years ago. "These are meaningful stories that are advancing the news."

Under Smith, BuzzFeed has hired reporters to cover politics and culture and added reporters in Cairo, Istanbul, Russia and, most recently, Nairobi, Kenya. The promise: to offer stories with distinctive takes, not just the latest development.

Yet most visitors clearly arrive for the viral posts that made BuzzFeed famous. The conference rooms at its new Manhattan headquarters are named for some of the most important players in its early history: "No No No Cat," "Kitten with a Tiny Hat," "Birthday Cat," "Business Cat" and "Lil Bub." They are unlikely to be household names -– unless your household includes social media junkies younger than 35. As it turns out, many tens of millions of houses and apartments do.

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