One of the tired knocks on Delaware is that the First State is tiny, that it only takes about two hours to get from top to bottom, and that travelers on their way north or south look at the Diamond State as little more than an extension of the New Jersey Turnpike, but with tax-free shopping.
Heck, it’s right there in one of Delaware’s many nicknames: the Small Wonder.
But try covering it from top to bottom on a daily basis, like NBC 10 reporter Tim Furlong does for a living, and you might just get a different perspective on the 1,982 square miles that connect Brandywine Hundred to Delmar and Bethany to Hartly.
A general assignment reporter for NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate since 2005, the Salesianum grad was reassigned in August 2013 as the only reporter exclusively covering Delaware for one of the major networks. Almost a year into his new gig, he’s enjoying every minute of it.
“I’m sort of honored to represent Delaware, in a weird way,” Furlong says, while eating at Kozy Korner Restaurant in Wilmington. “But I’m just trying to give Delawareans more of what they want, as a Delawarean watching local television. I mean, not only are we 10 percent of the viewership, which is a huge chunk of the audience, but there is actually a hell of a lot of news happening here.”
Furlong says that his news director was prompted to have a steady reporter in Delaware after last year’s shooting at the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington that left three people dead. Furlong was in Quakertown, Pa., that morning working on a story, which left his bosses wondering why they didn’t have a reporter on the scene.
“That was kind of a watershed moment, and soon after I was reassigned,” Furlong says. “Now every day I’m hustling all over the state, getting weather shots on Main Street in Newark, footage of the boardwalk in Rehoboth, and reporting on news wherever I can find it.”
Furlong’s day usually begins with hitting the Brandywine YMCA for a run on the treadmill before returning home to help his wife get their two children, ages 11 and 8, off to school. Then he checks his email and Twitter feed, comes up with six or seven story ideas, forwards them to his news directors, and waits for them to select which leads he should go after for the day.
“I usually get word back from them by about 11 a.m., and then it’s off to the races,” says Furlong, who received his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from American University in Washington, D.C. “I make some calls and hop in the Explorer with the NBC 10 logo on it, and am usually out in the field reporting and shooting video until 6 or 7 p.m.”
Furlong says his goal every day is to get Delaware on the nightly news, whether it’s a lead story, smaller feature or 10-second snippet of Market Street at lunchtime. “It’s a hustle every day, but my goal is for NBC to be Delaware’s news station, and I never take that for granted.”