Home>Highlight>WNBC-TV reporter Brian Thompson will retire next month after 27 years as New Jersey’s most respected journalist

Brian Thompson. (Photo: WNBC-TV News).

WNBC-TV reporter Brian Thompson will retire next month after 27 years as New Jersey’s most respected journalist

Murphy, Booker, Kornacki praise Thompson as a New Jersey treasure

By David Wildstein, April 10 2023 5:30 pm

Brian Thompson, a New Jersey reporting legend and perhaps the most consequential journalist in New Jersey today, will retire after 27 years with WNBC-TV, the New York-based NBC network affiliate.

The departure of the most familiar face on local television marks an end to a 50-year broadcasting career that began at radio stations in North Carolina and Florida.  He spent seventeen years in Charlotte before moving to New Jersey and the largest media market in the nation.

Thompson won an Emmy Award for his work on Channel 4’s political series, “What Matters,” and broke thousands of news stories as a TV reporter.  His tenure includes the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the resignation of a governor, and superstorm Sandy.    He’ll always be remembered for using a green ruler during major snowstorms; in full Jersey style, the ruler was a giveaway from a colorful former mayor of Hoboken, Anthony Russo.

“I feel very fortunate to have been able to be a voice for truth and facts to so many,” Thompson said.

His last day will be May 5.

Gov. Phil Murphy called Thompson’s retirement “a big loss for residents of the tri-state area and New Jersey in particular.

“Whether it’s from his home base down the shore or the corridors of the State House, Brian has been a fixture for decades, keeping us informed with his award-winning coverage on some of the biggest stories of our time, from 9/11 to Superstorm Sandy to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Murphy said.  “We’re proud to call him one of Jersey’s own, and I wish him all the best in his retirement.”

U.S. Senator Cory Booker called Thompson “one of Jersey’s all-time greats.”

“For years, he has been a trusted voice for me and so many, guiding us through the biggest news events with fair, rigorous reporting that never lost sight of the humanity of each person,” Booker said.  “I’m grateful to Brian for his service to our region.  He will be greatly missed.”

Steve Kornacki, who first met Thompson as a young reporter two decades ago and has become his colleague as a national political correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC praised Thompson’s commitment to covering New Jersey politics.

“When I started covering New Jersey politics, I quickly realized something: from all of the network affiliates in New York and Philadelphia, there was one correspondent who was far more likely than any other to be at any given event. It was Brian Thompson from WNBC,” said Kornacki.  “He set a standard for every up-and-coming reporter.”

According to Kornacki, Thompson’s “hunger for pursuing stories and for getting them right was obvious, and his work ethic was admirable.”

“But more than that, what became clear to me was that he just loved this stuff – the characters, the grudges, the turf wars, and all of the peculiar ingredients that make Garden State politics so addictive.” He said.  “It’s made him one of my favorites, and I know I’m one of many who will miss his presence on the air.”

During the global pandemic, Thompson’s reporting was vital to the region, said Amy Morris, the senior vice president of news for WNBC and WNJU.

“I talked Brian out of retiring a few years back.   We had just entered the pandemic, and the tough work he did was vital to our community,” Morris said.  ?Brian told me he needed to stay on the job to cover what he said was the most important story he would report on during his career.   He provided information and updates around the clock—day after day.”

Morris, like many others, lauded Thompson’s work ethic.

“ He has covered so many different kinds of stories in his impressive career and has never slowed down,” she said.  “Whether it is hurricane coverage, measuring the latest snowfall, or simply a wonderful story about someone doing great things, his love for New Jersey is evident in every single story he reports.”

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