Influential

The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time  

Ranker News
12.2k votes 1.2k voters 43k views 54 items

List Rules Only 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! 

list ordered by
1
Walter Cronkite is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 93 (1916-2009)
Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. was an American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years. During the heyday of CBS News in the 1960s and 1970s, he was ...more
2
Edward R. Murrow is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 57 (1908-1965)
Edward R. Murrow KBE was an American broadcast journalist. He first came to prominence with a series of radio news broadcasts during WWII, which were followed by millions of listeners in the ...more
3
David Brinkley is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 83 (1920-2003)
David McClure Brinkley was an American newscaster for NBC and ABC in a career lasting from 1943 to 1997. From 1956 through 1970, he co-anchored NBC's top-rated nightly news program, The ...more
4
Peter Jennings is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1938-2005)
Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings, CM was a Canadian-American journalist and news anchor. He was the sole anchor of ABC's World News Tonight from 1983 until 2005. A high-school dropout, he ...more
5
Ted Koppel is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 79
Edward James Martin "Ted" Koppel is a British American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late ...more
6
Harry Reasoner is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 68 (1923-1991)
Harry Truman Reasoner was an American journalist for ABC and CBS News, known for his inventive use of language as a television commentator, and as a founder of the 60 Minutes program. Over the ...more
7
Tom Brokaw is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 79
Thomas John "Tom" Brokaw is an American television journalist and author best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004. He is the author of The ...more
8
John Chancellor is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 69 (1927-1996)
John William Chancellor was a well-known American journalist who spent most of his career with NBC News. He served as anchor of the NBC Nightly News from 1970 to 1982 and continued to do ...more
9
Tim Russert is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
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.

10
Diane Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 73
Lila Diane Sawyer is an American television journalist. Previously, Sawyer had been the former anchor of ABC News's nightly flagship program ABC World News, a co-anchor of ABC News's morning ...more
11
Jane Pauley is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 68
Margaret Jane Pauley, better known as Jane Pauley, is an American television anchor and journalist, and has been involved in news reporting since 1975. She is best known for her 13-year tenure ...more
12
Barbara Walters is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 89
Barbara Walters is an American broadcast journalist, author and television personality. She has hosted morning television shows Today and The View, the television news magazine 20/20, ...more
13
Hugh Downs is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 98
Hugh Malcolm Downs is a long-time American broadcaster, television host, news anchor, TV producer, author, game show host, and music composer. He is perhaps best known for his roles as co-host ...more
14
Chet Huntley is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 63 (1911-1974)
Chester Robert "Chet" Huntley was an American television newscaster, best known for co-anchoring NBC's evening news program, The Huntley-Brinkley Report, for 14 years beginning in
15
Roger Mudd is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 91
Roger Mudd is an American broadcast journalist, most recently working as the primary anchor for The History Channel. Previously, Mudd was weekend and weekday substitute anchor for the CBS ...more
16
Eric Sevareid is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 80 (1912-1992)
Arnold Eric Sevareid was a CBS news journalist from 1939 to 1977. He was one of a group of elite war correspondents hired by pioneering CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow, and thus dubbed ...more
17
Dan Rather is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 87
Daniel Irvin "Dan" Rather, Jr. is an American journalist and the former news anchor for the CBS Evening News. He is now managing editor and anchor of the television news magazine Dan ...more
18
Lesley Stahl is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 77
Lesley Rene Stahl is an American television journalist. Since 1991, she has reported for CBS on 60 Minutes.
19
Sam Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 84
Samuel Andrew "Sam" Donaldson, Jr. is an American reporter and news anchor, serving with ABC News from 1967 to the present. He is best known as the network's White House Correspondent ...more
20
Howard K. Smith is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
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.

21
Andrea Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 72
Andrea Mitchell is an American television journalist, anchor, reporter and commentator for NBC News, based in Washington, D.C. She is the NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, and ...more
22
Cokie Roberts is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 75
Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Roberts (December 27, 1943 – September 17, 2019), best known as Cokie Roberts, was an American journalist and author. She was a contributing senior news ...more
23
Frank Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 60 (1923-1983)
Frank James Reynolds was an American television journalist for ABC and CBS News. He was a New York-based anchor of the ABC Evening News from 1968 to 1970 and later was the Washington D.C.-based ...more
24
Jim Lehrer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 84
James Charles "Jim" Lehrer is an American journalist and novelist, and is the executive editor and a former news anchor for the PBS NewsHour on PBS. He is also known for his role as a ...more
25
Brit Hume is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 75
Alexander Britton "Brit" Hume is a political commentator and television journalist. Hume had a 23-year career with ABC News, where he contributed to World News Tonight with Peter ...more