Venture will be separate from the paper
Boston Globe owner John W. Henry on Wednesday will formally launch STAT, an online health and life-sciences publication that will cover stories across the country.
The site, Statnews.com, will focus on science research and development, as well as medicine, biotechnology, and political stories related to science. STAT is run independently from the Globe’s newsroom, though some of its stories will appear in the print version of the newspaper.
“Over the next 20 years, some of the most important stories in the world are going to emerge in the life-sciences arena,” Henry, who is also principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, said in a statement. The news outlet’s goal is to be “the country’s go-to news source for the life-sciences,” he said.
STAT is based in Boston, at the Globe’s headquarters, with additional reporters in New York, San Francisco, and Washington. It has plans to hire others in cities around the world, Henry said.
The venture is run by executive editor Rick Berke, a former assistant managing editor at the New York Times and executive editor at Politico, who is overseeing about 33 journalists, editors, and multimedia specialists, in addition to outside contributors.
“We view Boston as the epicenter of life-sciences, health, and medicine with the institutions and biotech companies here,’’ Berke said in an interview Tuesday.
The goal is to appeal to a wide range of readers nationally, from consumers to professionals in health and life-sciences, he said, with stories that focus in depth on science and discovery, health and patient issues, national politics, and the money trail in science and medicine.
He said the news site is meant to complement the Globe, rather than duplicating beat coverage in such areas as hospitals and biotechnology.
The site will be free to users initially, Berke said, and will probably adopt paid elements in the future. STAT will compete with science coverage at outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Berke said, but has ambitions to reach readers nationally on a daily basis.
Rick Edmonds, media business analyst for the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., said the concept of creating news “verticals” that specialize in certain subjects is becoming more popular among media companies.
Some newspapers and magazines are asking, “Is there something we have editorial competence in that takes place in our back yard and might gather a sizeable audience if we did it well?” he said.
Edmonds said the STAT model is somewhat unusual because it is a separate enterprise from the Globe. However, other newspapers have topic-specific verticals, like the New York Times’s “Well” blog, designed to have an independent appearance.
Boston Globe Media Partners LLC previously launched Crux, a website dedicated to news on the Catholic Church. The Globe also runs BetaBoston, which covers technology.
More than 60 STAT stories have already run in the Globe as the site has ramped up. Going forward, certain STAT stories will still run in the print edition of the Globe, and Globe stories could be published on the STAT site, Berke said.
Henry, in a statement, said STAT was created as a separate company from the Globe on the belief that “a news organization can be most nimble when it is built organically for the digital age.”
But, he said, “STAT also benefits tremendously from being a sister publication to The Boston Globe, one of the most vital and respected news organizations in the country.”
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