Boston Globe’s life sciences initiative finally has a name – ‘Stat’

July 17, 2015
Category: Uncategorized

The Boston Globe’s life sciences initiative led by former Politico executive editor Rick Berke now finally has a name. They want you to read the news urgently, hence – Stat.

The name, which evokes urgency, is a reference to the medical term stat. Stat is derived from a Latin word that means “immediately.”

The company acquired the domain on Thursday. Berke later made it official with an announcement in a staff meeting Friday.

“We take you inside science labs and hospital wards, biotech boardrooms and political backrooms,” Stat’s mission statement reads. “Stat will examine controversies, introduce power brokers and puncture hype.”

Stat’s leadership ranks include Gideon Gil, managing editor of enterprise and partnerships and Jeff DelViscio, who is senior editor of multimedia and creative. Gil was the former health and science editor of The Globe and DelViscio was a Web producer on the science and environment desk of The New York Times.

While Stat is still hush-hush about who it has hired, Berke said the reporters’ names will be recognizable once they’re disclosed.

The company is also looking to hire for at least six senior positions for the Stat multimedia team. DelViscio’s ambition is to incorporate video, photo and interactive content within Stat’s storytelling stream. These jobs include a video editor, an interactives editor and a social media editor. DelViscio aims at integrating a full-stack multimedia team in the newsroom, drawing on its expertise from the very beginning of the storytelling process.

“It is also a question of what constitutes a multimedia element,” DelViscio said. “Often something as simple as a GIF can have a little impact on the story, in sort of a teaching mentality. There is a visual quality to the life sciences that is often not utilized.”

The initiative can be expected to feature both short and longform video, be it shareable short clips focused towards social media, or mini-documentary style footage. With the interactives editor, the aim is to explore data visualization and the potential on that side right from the start.

“At its core, Stat is supposed to be a watchdog,” DelViscio said. “There is so much money in the system and no people are looking at it consistently. That is the huge part of our mission. Although we are at a nascent stage right now, the possibilities also include searchable databases for public health information that aren’t otherwise readily accessible, something places like ProPublica and Center for Public Integrity do so well.”

Although the website doesn’t have a launch date yet, the team would start publishing Stat-branded content on The Boston Globe in late summer. Staffers would work towards building a national audience with that and promotion on social media.

According to Berke, Stat has recruited people in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C. and the West Coast. “This will eventually be of national scope,” he said.

What used to be a formal-looking publisher suite on the third floor of the Boston Globe building is now being revamped for Stat. The launch date is still several months away, but as the team works on creating an office space and reporters come in, Berke says it already has the feel of an excellent newsroom.

Correction: An earlier version of this story omitted the word “no” from this quote. “There is so much money in the system and no people are looking at it consistently.”