Red Sox owner launches science site Stat

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Veteran journalist Rick Berke says he's "not a science geek." And he's never been on the ground floor of a startup before.

But when he was offered a job to lead Stat, a new site focusing on science and medicine that launched Wednesday, Berke said it was a no-brainer.

"To have someone say you can spend millions of dollars and hire the best journalists in the country, how often does that happen in your career?" Berke told CNNMoney.

That "someone" would be John Henry, the owner of the Boston Globe and principal owner of the Boston Red Sox.

The Globe is serving as what Berke calls a "sister publication" for Stat. Throughout the site's soft launch over the last several months, Stat's articles have been published through the newspaper.

Stat pledges to "take readers inside science labs and hospitals, biotech boardrooms and political backrooms" through a combination of breaking news, feature stories and investigative pieces

For Berke, it might be more important to establish what Stat will not be: Boring.

"Boring is death to us," he said. "I want our journalism to be provocative, lively, accessible, credible, interesting."

He's betting that compelling journalism will cultivate a broad audience, although he insisted that he hasn't been focused on the site's web traffic.

Stat, Berke said, has potential to draw readers who might not be well-versed in the world of scientific discovery and heath. He includes himself in that group.

"I see me as a general audience. These subjects are fairly fresh to me, but I know a good story when I see one," Berke said.

The site is off to a promising start. Berke has hired around 40 journalists who work in Stat's headquarters in Boston, as well as in Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco.

And those journalists have already broken news, including a pair of scoops last month on President Obama's nominee to lead the FDA removing his name from scientific papers and Bernie Sanders rejecting a donation from Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli.

Berke and Henry also believe that Stat will benefit by standing out from its competition. In a press release, Henry said that "no one [is] doing what we aim to do: Be the country's go-to news source for the life sciences."

Berke, who previously served as executive editor of Politico and a senior editor at The New York Times, said that Stat and the Globe are "two distinct properties," but he spoke glowingly about the symbiosis between the publications.

The Globe has provided a robust infrastructure for Berke's fledgling site, while Stat can serve as a "laboratory" for the venerable newspaper to experiment with new ideas.

"They can publish any of our content. We can publish any of their content," Berke said. "We've benefited enormously from the Globe relationship because even though we're a separate company, a separate business staff, separate CMS, separate website, we've been able to draw on the advice and wisdom of really smart editorial and business folks at the Globe."

"I feel fortunate to have the best of both worlds," he added. "I can hire someone, and call Globe HR people to handle all the benefits."

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