FiercePharma's origin story? From accidental editor to pharma's daily planet

Editor's Corner

Happy accidents shape most careers, and mine began with one. I’d landed an internship at the daily newspaper in Bryan-College Station, TX, right out of college, but a week before my start date, the Eagle’s managing editor called. Did I want a full-time job instead? Covering healthcare and education?

That morning, the woman he’d hired failed to show up. Her car wouldn’t start, and she took that as a sign the job wasn’t for her.

Years later, after writing and editing at other newspapers and magazines, dailies, weeklies, monthlies, semi-monthlies and 24/7 websites, just after wrapping up four years of grad school, I answered another unexpected call: Would I help FierceBiotech launch an offshoot news pub covering the pharmaceuticals industry? The woman who’d signed on for the launch had bailed out at the last minute, and it would be a great help if I could step in for a few weeks, give Fierce time to find someone else.

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That was August 2007.

At the time FiercePharma was intended to be a digest of the day’s business news. I summarized five top stories and put the rest in liner notes, linking out to articles published somewhere else. It took about three hours every morning, just one chunk of my writing day.

That “someone else” proved elusive, and almost nine years later, the FiercePharma we started in 2007 no longer exists. It has evolved from that single digest to become the flag on a set of daily, weekly and twice-weekly publications covering biopharma around the world. With a team of 10 editors on three continents, we don’t report on the news. We deliver the news. We analyze what’s breaking in the industry and put it in context. Together with our sister group FierceBiotech, we cover biopharma and medtech to a depth and breadth that no other single news group does.

We’ve gone from zero subscribers for one startup pub to more than 200,000 for the group. In the early years, 3,000 web visits made for a pretty great day at FiercePharma. Now, less than 30,000 is a bad one. With FierceBiotech, we counted more than 1.3 million visits last month and more than 800,000 users.

More evolution is coming. After FierceLifeSciences Editor in Chief John Carroll stepped down earlier this month, I decided to step up as editor in chief of FiercePharma. My colleague Stacy Lawrence is taking on the counterpart role at FierceBiotech. We’ll continue to offer you the biopharma coverage you expect, but we’re planning new research and features, too.

In the coming months--and years--you can look for more stories mined from big government and industry databases, more of the top 10 rankings you return to again and again, more in-depth reporting on the companies and people who make your industry tick. You’ll encounter our coverage in a variety of digital formats. You’ll have more opportunities to interact with us online--and in person, at our hosted events.

Along the way, please get in touch with your insider news tips, story ideas, research data, comments and suggestions. You’ll find contact information for our team of editors and writers here.

I can’t promise that you'll like every single thing we do. In fact, I can promise that you won’t. Every week, we’re criticized equally as industry apologists and as anti-pharma gadflies. What I can promise is that we will cover biopharma from all sides and all points of view. What I hope is that you’ll consider us an indispensable read every single day.

-- Tracy Staton (email)

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