Pat Kiernan has been a staple of New York City television since joining NY1 – the city’s highly informative cable news station – in 1997. The Canadian born news anchor’s most notable work on NYC’s broadcast waves is a segment called In the Papers, eight minutes every morning in which Pat recaps a selection of stories from New York’s newspapers.
The success of In the Papers on local TV has led Pat to the World Wide Web, where he launched Pat’s Papers, a national online version of the daily TV segment.
If the idea of a guy regurgitating newspaper stories in front of a camera and posting it online sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. But what makes the show watchable – even enjoyable – is that Pat, the former host of VH1’s World Series of Pop Culture, gets that it’s a little silly and approaches the three-to-six-minute show accordingly, providing personal, sometimes snarky, commentary on the day’s news.
Behind his smirk, though, is a legitimate goal to help us busy news-seekers out. Pat told The New York Times that he views Pat’s Papers as more than just a lighthearted review of the morning papers, but as a service that will “cut through the clutter” and do “some of the legwork” for us. While that may be true, I hesitate to call the show a utility.
News aggregators like Google News that cull the top stories from a variety of sources and display them for our skimming are far more efficient if you’re looking for a quick rundown of what’s happening in the world. When it comes to straight up headlines, video is an inconvenient delivery device (as Morgan Webb of the now defunct Webb Alert – essentially a Pat’s Papers for tech – could most certainly attest). And if Pat’s Papers‘ consistently sub-100 YouTube viewer numbers are any clue, the busy people who Pat seeks to help are too busy for Pat.
I like Pat’s Papers because it reminds me of Aaron Brown‘s old Newsnight segment, ‘Tomorrow’s Papers Tonight’ and when it comes to charm and personal touch, Pat easily beats out any text-based service on the net.