'N.Y. Post' vs. 'Daily News:' NY1's Pat Kiernan Referees New York's Tabloid War

NY Daily News Archive Via Getty Images; Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images; Courtesy of New York Post

For 19 years, the NY1 morning anchor has walked viewers through over-the-top daily headlines with his popular segment "In the Papers." Who better to help THR make sense of the bizarre battle between the two papers?

His boyish face may not be familiar to Angelenos, but for two decades, the morning anchor at NY1 — a Time Warner-owned 24-hour news channel dedicated to everything happening in Manhattan and its boroughs — has walked Gothamites through over-the-top daily headlines with his popular segment "In the Papers." Who better to help THR make sense of the bizarre battle between the New York Post and Daily News?

How long have you been the morning guy at NY1?

I became the morning anchor of NY1 in 1997. So it's been 19 years on that shift as morning anchor.

I did a Google Image search on you and found you naked behind a New York Times. What's the back story there?

We had this whole controversy in the summer that still hasn’t been resolved. The Spanish word is "desnudas" — the women in Times Square who paint their breasts with the American flag and pose topless with tourists. So I decided to do "In the Papers" topless. The gag was that you couldn’t tell that I was shirtless and as I read the story the paper got lower and lower. They cut before they got to my nipples.

Let's talk papers. What's in your roster? Which is your favorite?

The newspaper subject is a little tricky with me when they try to pin me down which is worst and which is best. There are four that are absolutely included every morning: The New York Post, The Daily News, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. I have a Times digital subscription but I like holding the paper. I think one of the weaknesses of digital is that it hasn’t figured out how to replicate the layout on the page and the weight that one story has over another because of the way it appears on the page. The Times has been particularly aggressive about trying to replicate the front page.

What section do you reach for first?

It’s either the Post or the Daily News. The things the Wall Street Journal and the Times are covering are the same stories that are hitting my news alerts. For them I’m generally looking at how they’re covering a story in depth. But the Post and Daily News still have their delicious tabloid surprises that are entertaining in the morning. It’s fun to reach for those and get the tabloid overview first.

Does it every get dicey or complicated — you relaying these shadily sourced tabloid items on a legit news channel?

It’s the most exquisite thing. If there’s a silly, scandalous, yet still fairly newsworthy tabloid story, I can present it to our audience. "The only reason this is on here now is because the New York Post chose to put this on their front page." It’s a perfect "have your cake and eat it too" scenario.

Do you ever think, "Man I have the perfect headline ... I should really send it to them."

Honestly I have such respect for the tabloid headline writers who come up with clever turns of phrases. I can appreciate a good headline as I did this week with this Matt Harvey story where he had his bladder problem. The Post came up with such a good headline: "URINE TROUBLE." Then it ran six alternate headlines! We had some fun with that.

How has the Post-News rivalry changed in the past few years?

The battleground has been newsstand price-cut one year, more gossip pages the next year, more investigative reporting the year after that. It goes through cycles. The Daily News has been at the top of its headline game in recent months, led by a stern “God Isn’t Fixing This” in response to politicians whose main response to a mass shooting was a pledge to “pray for the victims.” But there's more range to the print edition of the Post after the Daily News cutbacks. I really appreciate the "middle" of the paper — with business, entertainment and lifestyle coverage that has a lot of relevance to readers.

What has Donald Trump contributed to the mix?

It’s harder to find a Trump supporter in his home city than it is most places in the country. The Daily News has had front page after front page that has challenged him. The New York Times has had multiple stories over consecutive days questioning his credentials on foreign policy, questioning if his businesses are actually successful. I’m not sure how much it’s stuck since he keeps winning primaries. One of our political reporters at NY1 did a segment where she went looking for Trump supporters on the streets of New York. Finally after a long search she found this one kid, 22, with one of those red Make America Great Again hats. He said, “My dad said I shouldn’t wear it on the subway.” That kid is a good gauge of Trump support in New York City.