Influential
2.7k voters

The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time

Updated October 7, 2020 30.0k votes 2.7k voters 112.6k views65 items

List RulesOnly news anchors popular on American television.

TV news anchors have a long history of being trusted sources for world news and events. The best news anchors don't just report the news. They dissect current events and put them into perspective, often having a profound effect on politics and public opinion. Who are the most influential news anchors of all time? This list helps decide as it covers legends of American news broadcasting, including both active and retired news anchors!

In the olden days, names like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite carried much weight. In the age of the 24-hour news cycle, there are even more newscasters and TV personalities out there talking politics. Fox News brings us stars like Shepard Smith and Bill Hemmer while CNN has the likes of Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer. While women historically didn't have access to anchorwomen opportunities, a number of prominent female journalists have since risen through the ranks. In 1976, Barbara Walters was tapped as the first woman to co-anchor a nightly news program. Since then, many famous female reporters have followed in her footsteps such as Diane Sawyer and Connie Chung. 

Who are the most trusted news anchors of all time? Help decide below by voting the most influential names in journalism to the top of the list! 

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    Walter Cronkite

    Dec. at 93 (1916-2009)
    Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. (November 4, 1916 – July 17, 2009) was an American broadcast...  more

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    #249 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#757 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time

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    601
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    David Brinkley

    Dec. at 83 (1920-2003)
    David McClure Brinkley (July 10, 1920 – June 11, 2003) was an American newscaster for NBC and...  more
  • 3
    557
    124

    Edward R. Murrow

    Dec. at 57 (1908-1965)
    Edward Roscoe Murrow (born Egbert Roscoe Murrow; April 25, 1908 – April 27, 1965) was an...  more
  • 4
    641
    158

    Peter Jennings

    Dec. at 67 (1938-2005)
    Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings (July 29, 1938 – August 7, 2005) was a...  more
  • 5
    708
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    Tom Brokaw

    Age: 80
    Thomas John Brokaw (; born February 6, 1940) is an American television journalist and author,...  more

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    455
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    Harry Reasoner

    Dec. at 68 (1923-1991)
    Harry Truman Reasoner (April 17, 1923 – August 6, 1991) was an American journalist for ABC and...  more
  • 7
    539
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    Ted Koppel

    Age: 80
    Edward James Martin Koppel (born February 8, 1940) is a British-born American broadcast...  more

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    Hugh Downs

    Age: 99
    Hugh Malcolm Downs (born February 14, 1921) was a retired American broadcaster, television...  more

    More 

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    Margaret Jane Pauley (born October 31, 1950), known as Jane Pauley, is an American television...  more

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    #1 of 58 The Best Female Talk Show Hosts on TV#20 of 155 The Best Talk Show Hosts Of Daytime, Late Night, and All Time

  • 10
    351
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    John Chancellor

    Dec. at 69 (1927-1996)
    John William Chancellor (July 14, 1927 – July 12, 1996) was an American journalist who spent...  more
  • 11
    753
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    Lesley Rene Stahl (born December 16, 1941) is an American television journalist. She has spent...  more
  • 12
    436
    171

    Tim Russert

    Timothy John Russert (May 7, 1950 – June 13, 2008) was an American television journalist and lawyer who appeared for more than 16 years as the longest-serving moderator of NBC's Meet the Press. He was a senior vice president at NBC News, Washington bureau chief and also hosted an eponymous CNBC/MSNBC weekend interview program.

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    489
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    Lila Diane Sawyer (born December 22, 1945) is an American television journalist. Sawyer has...  more

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    #81 of 574 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures#2 of 50 Favorite Good Morning America Hosts

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    317
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    Chet Huntley

    Dec. at 63 (1911-1974)
    Chester Robert "Chet" Huntley (December 10, 1911 – March 20, 1974) was an American television...  more
  • 15
    290
    109

    Howard K. Smith

    Howard Kingsbury Smith (May 12, 1914 – February 15, 2002) was an American journalist, radio reporter, television anchorman, political commentator, and film actor. He was one of the original members of the team of war correspondents known as the Murrow Boys.

  • 16
    660
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    Dan Rather

    Age: 88
    Dan Irvin Rather Jr. (; born October 31, 1931) is an American journalist. Rather began his...  more

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    Roger Mudd

    Age: 92
    Roger Harrison Mudd (born February 9, 1928) is a retired American broadcast journalist who was...  more
  • 18
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    Samuel Andrew Donaldson Jr. (born March 11, 1934) is an American former reporter and news...  more
  • 19
    265
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    Eric Sevareid

    Dec. at 80 (1912-1992)
    Arnold Eric Sevareid (November 26, 1912 – July 9, 1992) was an American author and CBS news...  more
  • 20
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    Barbara Jill Walters (born September 25, 1929) is an American broadcast journalist, author,...  more

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    #41 of 131 The Most Annoying TV Hosts#27 of 309 Famous People Most Likely to Live to 100

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    Andrea Mitchell (born October 30, 1946) is an American television journalist, anchor, and...  more

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    #66 of 160 The Most Ridiculous Political Pundits#3 of 49 The Most Trustworthy Newscasters on TV Today

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    Jim Lehrer

    Age: 86
    James Charles Lehrer (; born May 19, 1934) is an American journalist and novelist. Lehrer is...  more
  • 23
    212
    98

    Frank Reynolds

    Dec. at 60 (1923-1983)
    Frank James Reynolds (November 29, 1923 – July 20, 1983) was an American television journalist...  more
  • 24
    290
    158

    Brit Hume

    Age: 77
    Alexander Britton "Brit" Hume (born June 22, 1943) is an American conservative television...  more
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    287
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    Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Roberts (née Boggs; born December 27, 1943), best known...  more

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