Today, I spoke to Pat Kiernan, who is a New York City news anchor, appearing as the morning anchor of NY1 since 1997 and has become widely known in the City for his “In the Papers” feature. In this interview, Pat talks to us about his own career path, how to make good headline, telling stories on Twitter, and how to get your own Wikipedia page.
What inspired you to start writing In The Papers and Pat’s Papers?
“In the Papers” is a segment that’s been on NY1 News since the channel launched in 1992. I’m been the face of the segment since 1997, so it’s naturally associated wtih me. It’s an extremely simple concept to summarize the newspapers — but it’s actually quite difficult to execute well. Viewers who introduce themselves on the street usually single out “In the Papers” as a favorite segment. So after hearing that feedback enough times I decided to try to launch a national equivalent of the segment I was doing each day for NY1. That’s how “Pat’s Papers” came into the world.
You learned early on how to make news headlines very succinct. You must have been excited upon the creation of twitter because you had the advantage.
It’s really tough to tell an ENTIRE story in 140 characters. But you can almost always tell enough of the story that your followers can make an informed decision about whether they’re going to click through to a link to read the rest. I take that responsibility very seriously with Pat’s Papers. I don’t want to trick people into clicking on a story with a tease like “You’ve gotta see this!” and nothing more. I’m more likely to write: “Amazing double play in 9th inning to seal victory. See the video.” It may be a subtle difference, but I’m trying to build the same sort of trust with my Twitter followers that I’ve built with the NY1 audience over the past dozen years.
Before joining NY1 you created and hosted a segment called “Your Money.” What was it about?
I’ve done a lot of business and personal finance reporting. My degree from the University of Alberta is in business, so it was a natural progression for my journalism. “Your Money” was a nightly business and consumer news segment I hosted in Canada from 1993 to 1996. I was the producer of a 10 pm newscast that was short of resources. So, for 5 minutes each night I’d step out of the control room and into my on-camera mode to anchor the live money report. It helped me to produce a better newscast, and also helped my personal brand by keeping my face on TV even though my primary duties at the time were behind the scenes.
Do you think having your own personal brand has helped you advance your career?
I guess television anchors and reporters are part of the group that’s always traded on the strength of a “personal brand.” It’s become more common for others because the internet has given people tools to develop their own brands. Previously, the media gatekeepers limited the number of people who could effectively build a personal brand. To get back to the question — yes, it has helped. I carry a higher value because of my personal brand, which can mean a better payday at my main job, and can lead to more opportunities for other work.
What does it take to have your own Wikipedia page? Does that help your personal brand?
I’ve not had much to do with my Wikipedia page. I did have a couple of inaccuracies corrected at one point. But it’s clear when I look at the pages of some colleagues that they’ve invested more time in making sure there’s an active chronicle of their career online. I should put this on my to-do list. Assuming the information on a Wikipedia entry is favorable, it is a great contributor to a personal brand. Partly because not everyone has a page. And partly because Wikipedia ranks so well in Google searches. In my case, it’s the first thing to pop up on a search for “Pat Kiernan.” You always want the first few search results on your name to be relevant and favorable.
Pat Kiernan is a New York City news anchor, appearing as the morning anchor of NY1 since 1997. Kiernan has become widely known in the City for his “In the Papers” feature, in which he summarizes the colorful content in New York City’s daily newspapers, replete with his deadpan humor. Kiernan was on the air during the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11. Kiernan began his news career at CKRA-FM in Edmonton while a business student at the University of Alberta. In 1996 Kiernan moved to New York City where he has enjoyed success not only in the news industry, but also in films- he recently made cameos as himself in The Interpreter (2005) and in Night at the Museum (2006). Kiernan has been featured in publications including New York (“Morning Star”, February 5, 2001) and the New York Post (“Dream Job: Pat Kiernan”, October 3, 2005).