CHANGE, OR LACK THEREOF
Steve Paulus: We're certainly not accused of changing on a whim. I mean, I’ll tell ya, to be perfectly honest, in terms of format, it’s still a half-hour news reel with a NY1 minute at the beginning, and weather on the 1s, none of that has changed. Basically, if someone turned the television set on September 8th, 1992 and compared it to what you're seeing now, I think they would be pleasantly, comfortably, familiar with what we're airing.
Pat Kiernan: We trade on consistency. That’s what our offering to the viewer is. We are a consistent team you can wake up to, turn on in the afternoon, turn on when something is going on.
Jamie Shupak: People have woken up in New York City for fifteen years to the same face doing the same routine, and while there have been minor tweaks, the graphics look the same, [Pat Kiernan] looks the same. And while that can be seen as a negative in some ways, I do think that the not changing makes people feel really comfortable.
Dean Meminger: I've been at NY1 since 1997, so we're talking about sixteen years. People have seen me on air for a very long time covering the various communities of New York City. So if I roll up on the scene, very often people do recognize me. Some people watch NY1 religiously, every day, and the other reporters every day, so when we roll up on the scene, they feel they know us.
If someone turned the television set on September 8th, 1992 and compared it to what you're seeing now, I think they would be pleasantly, comfortably, familiar with what we're airing.
Matt Besterman: Technologically, we're light-years ahead of where we were. When I came to NY1, we still shot and edited stories on tape. If I wanted a piece of video for a story, I had to tell an editor who would then cut the video. Now, I can edit it myself, right on my desktop. I have very precise control over the material we put on TV. The nature of news-gathering itself has changed. I came to NY1 before Facebook, before Twitter. The web was kind of a shiny new tool that we didn't really know how to use. We only vaguely sensed how important it would be. There were no smart phones. I didn't even own a cellphone until after 9/11. I remember coming to NY1 and seeing reporters with BlackBerrys and thinking that was the height of hi-tech. They could write stories right on their phones and email them in! Even after I became an Executive Producer — nearly four years later — I still took reporters' scripts over the phone, whereas today everyone has an iPad. Nowadays, when a big story is breaking — like the Boston bombings —the first place I go is Twitter. The pace of news-gathering is a lot faster — which puts more pressure on all of us to vet the facts carefully and get them right.
Matt Besterman: Our "no-frills" approach to news really appeals to me— it's one of the reasons I like working here. We don't generally have distracting tickers at the bottom of the screen, or any of the other bells and whistles that tend to irritate me about other news outlets. For us, it's all about the story—telling the stories that are important to our viewers, as best we can. But we're certainly not low-tech; it takes a lot of state-of-the-art technology to do what we do. It's just that technology is all under the hood, so to speak—not in the paint job.
Jamie Shupak: I have worked at places where their graphic packages are so flashy, and sometimes so obnoxious, that it makes you feel like that is how they get you to watch, instead of…
Pat Kiernan: —substance.
Jamie Shupak: Yeah! You know, content.
Pat Kiernan: And New Yorkers place a value on that and it’s almost like, the slicker the other channels try to be, the more the distinction stands out.
The slicker the other channels try to be, the more the distinction stands out.
Jamie Shupak: I definitely go both ways on it sometimes. You know, [NY1] definitely looks super retro and super old school, and sometimes I'm like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe that this is what it looks like.' But I also appreciate that we're just giving it to you straight. We do our own hair and makeup, we have the graphics from, like, 1974. [Laughs] It's just very, 'This is it — this is who we are.’
Jamie Shupak: I was on WNBC for a while, and nobody ever came up to me on the street when I was on WNBC. And now, it's like, I'm at the grocery store, I'm out to dinner… and all over the place people are NY1 fans. Most of the time, it's 'I love you and Pat,' or 'Are you and Pat secretly in love with each other?' Or 'We wake up with you every morning!' Or 'You're much smaller than you look on TV,' which always cracks me up because I’m like, 'That is not a compliment.' [Laughs] But the best was when I was at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner last spring, and Paul Rudd was walking into the party as I was walking out of the party. I went to say hi to him, just to be like, 'Oh, I'm a huge fan'—because I'll totally nerd out with celebrities—and he looked at me before I had a chance and he was like, 'Jamie Shupak! What the hell are you doing here?' And I lost it. I literally lost it. He was like, 'I watch you every morning!'
Action Bronson: Pat fuckin' Kiernan? That's my G, right there!
Amanda Massa: My favorite Pat Kiernan moment was when he reported from the NY1 rooftop the morning after a blizzard and made snow angels live on the air. That pretty much confirmed my suspicions that there's a true funny side to the serious anchor we see every morning.
Anthony DeRosa: Pat, to me, is quintessentially New York in a way that only real New Yorkers can appreciate. If you live outside or around New York you might have caught wind of the cult of Pat but you don't really know. Spike Lee is famous and from New York but Pat is famous for being New York. Pat is like the amazing local deli that every real New Yorker knows but doesn't want to share and spoil with tourists. I like to think of him as everyone's uncle.
Hamilton Nolan: Pat Kiernan and Roger Clark are the real life Batman and Robin of New York. I'm not sure what it is about Pat that makes everyone love him so much. Probably his inherent Canadian lack of ego. That sets him apart from just about everyone else on TV. Roger Clark is my favorite reporter in NY in any medium.
I think the viewers don't see us as above them, but as their equals.
John Schiumo: We’re not movie stars. We’re the local cable news hosts. So, for me, when someone sees me and I get stopped, it’s usually a comment about city government. That’s the most common thing I’ll hear. 'Tell Bloomberg to blank blank blank.' Yeah. That’s what I’ll do. You’re not getting stopped and chased down the sidewalk for autographs.
Errol Louis: [People on the street] ask me what I think is going to happen in the [mayoral] race, and I usually just shrug. Then they give me their theory, which is really what the encounter is all about, saying that they think Quinn is going to win or, "Is Weiner going to get in?’ All this kind of stuff. People are really quite sophisticated and very knowledgeable.
Roma Torre: I think the viewers don't see us as above them, but as their equals. We're very personable and the place has been crafted in Steve's image. He's a really nice guy and the people he hires are very friendly. Maybe that comes through on air. When I'm walking down the street and someone recognizes me, I usually get a 'Hey Roma, How you doin'?' like we're friends.
Budd Mishkin: Back when I covered sports, full time, I would be at the Garden a lot. You have a mixture of people: people who live in the five boroughs and people who live in the suburbs. It was interesting to see the different reactions. People who lived in New York [City] would say hello and then I’d see the reaction of some of the people sitting next to them [from the suburbs], like, 'Who’s that guy? Should we know him?’
Lewis Dodley: People usually ask me if I ever sleep, because they see me on the station so much. The most memorable encounter happened when I was sitting in a restaurant that was showing NY1 while I was on. A fan actually asked me if it was live. So I said, 'You realize I'm sitting here, right?'
Jamie Shupak: Well, I get in at 4 a.m., and I'm usually in the makeup room by about ten after, quarter after, and Pat's usually in there about five minutes or so after me. I DJ the makeup room in the morning.
Roma Torre: I have to be honest, I would prefer makeup and hair people to help me. For no other reason than I think we would all look a lot better. [Laughs] I'm being honest here.
"The success of morning TV is based around a routine, and people waking up with their 'people.'
Jamie Shupak: I think the success of morning TV in general, forget about NY1 for a second, the success of morning TV is based around a routine, and people waking up with their 'people.' If turning on the TV and seeing us talk about what we did the night before, how cold it is that day, if that’s the one thing that is going to keep them feeling secure, then great. Then we’re doing a good job.
Pat Kiernan: The comfort is a connection with the viewers. When we run into people they say, 'We love you and Jamie in the morning.' They act like we have a half hour show.
Jamie Shupak: Yeah, that’s all they want to talk about. I think we got lucky. [Kiernan] lets me poke fun at him, and I let him tell his jokes and stories and things. We worked out. I don’t think you can really explain it or pinpoint it. I often forget I’m on television. In the middle of a conversation, I’m like, 'Oh, wait.' Well [Kiernan] and I have the same agent. And when we were negotiating my contract to work here, he kept saying, 'You’re going to love this guy.'
Pat Kiernan: You don’t manufacture on-air chemistry. You either have it or you don’t. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that I could start a sentence and Jamie could finish it.
Jamie Shupak: [Kiernan] played a big part in Brian [Stelter, of The New York Times] and I getting together. Well, Brian first found me on Twitter, and then he asked Pat right away if I was single before he messaged me the first time. Then Pat, without me knowing, was sort of playing wingman to Brian to help him date me. So it's really funny when people are like, 'You and Pat, you guys are making out, aren't you?' And I'm like, 'No, actually, he helped me and my boyfriend get together.'