Influential
2.6k voters

The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time

Updated October 7, 2020 29.6k votes 2.6k voters 106.3k 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 Cronkite1
    1,085
    150

    Walter Cronkite

    Dec. at 93 (1916-2009)

    BirthplaceSaint Joseph, Missouri, United States of America

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

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  • David Brinkley2
    591
    125

    David Brinkley

    Dec. at 83 (1920-2003)

    BirthplaceWilmington, USA, North Carolina

    David McClure Brinkley (July 10, 1920 – June 11, 2003) was an American newscaster for NBC and...  more
  • Edward R. Murrow3
    552
    124

    Edward R. Murrow

    Dec. at 57 (1908-1965)

    BirthplaceUSA, North Carolina

    Edward Roscoe Murrow (born Egbert Roscoe Murrow; April 25, 1908 – April 27, 1965) was an...  more
  • Peter Jennings4
    625
    154

    Peter Jennings

    Dec. at 67 (1938-2005)

    BirthplaceToronto, Canada

    Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings (July 29, 1938 – August 7, 2005) was a...  more
  • Tom Brokaw5
    701
    220

    Tom Brokaw

    Age: 80

    BirthplaceWebster, South Dakota, United States of America

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

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  • Harry Reasoner6
    451
    133

    Harry Reasoner

    Dec. at 68 (1923-1991)

    BirthplaceDakota City, Iowa, United States of America

    Harry Truman Reasoner (April 17, 1923 – August 6, 1991) was an American journalist for ABC and...  more
  • Ted Koppel7
    540
    180

    Ted Koppel

    Age: 80

    BirthplaceNelson, United Kingdom

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

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  • Hugh Downs8
    361
    118

    Hugh Downs

    Age: 99

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio, United States of America

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

    More 

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  • Jane Pauley9
    809
    336

    BirthplaceIndianapolis, Indiana, United States of America

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

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  • John Chancellor10
    344
    111

    John Chancellor

    Dec. at 69 (1927-1996)

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, USA

    John William Chancellor (July 14, 1927 – July 12, 1996) was an American journalist who spent...  more
  • Lesley Stahl11
    760
    333

    BirthplaceLynn, Massachusetts, United States of America

    Lesley Rene Stahl (born December 16, 1941) is an American television journalist. She has spent...  more
  • Tim Russert12
    427
    170

    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.

  • Diane Sawyer13
    483
    208

    BirthplaceGlasgow, Kentucky, United States of America

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

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  • Chet Huntley14
    311
    118

    Chet Huntley

    Dec. at 63 (1911-1974)

    BirthplaceCardwell, Montana, United States of America

    Chester Robert "Chet" Huntley (December 10, 1911 – March 20, 1974) was an American television...  more
  • Howard K. Smith15
    280
    106

    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.

  • Dan Rather16
    644
    316

    Dan Rather

    Age: 88

    BirthplaceWharton, Texas, United States of America

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

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  • Roger Mudd17
    298
    120

    Roger Mudd

    Age: 92

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., United States of America

    Roger Harrison Mudd (born February 9, 1928) is a retired American broadcast journalist who was...  more
  • Sam Donaldson18
    405
    183

    BirthplaceEl Paso, Texas, United States of America

    Samuel Andrew Donaldson Jr. (born March 11, 1934) is an American former reporter and news...  more
  • Eric Sevareid19
    262
    102

    Eric Sevareid

    Dec. at 80 (1912-1992)

    BirthplaceVelva, North Dakota, United States of America

    Arnold Eric Sevareid (November 26, 1912 – July 9, 1992) was an American author and CBS news...  more
  • Andrea Mitchell20
    700
    403

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

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

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  • Barbara Walters21
    487
    273

    BirthplaceBoston, Massachusetts, United States of America

    Barbara Jill Walters (born September 25, 1929) is an American broadcast journalist, author,...  more

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  • Frank Reynolds22
    210
    92

    Frank Reynolds

    Dec. at 60 (1923-1983)

    BirthplaceEast Chicago, Indiana, United States of America

    Frank James Reynolds (November 29, 1923 – July 20, 1983) was an American television journalist...  more
  • Jim Lehrer23
    236
    112

    Jim Lehrer

    Age: 86

    BirthplaceWichita, Kansas, United States of America

    James Charles Lehrer (; born May 19, 1934) is an American journalist and novelist. Lehrer is...  more
  • Brit Hume24
    284
    148

    Brit Hume

    Age: 77

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., United States of America

    Alexander Britton "Brit" Hume (born June 22, 1943) is an American conservative television...  more
  • Cokie Roberts25
    280
    160

    BirthplaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Roberts (née Boggs; born December 27, 1943), best known...  more

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