Influential

The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time  

Ranker News
12.6k votes 1.3k voters 46.8k 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. (November 4, 1916 – July 17, 2009) was an American broadcast journalist who served as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years (1962–1981). During the heyday of ...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 Roscoe Murrow (born Egbert Roscoe Murrow; April 25, 1908 – April 27, 1965) was an American broadcast journalist and war correspondent. He first gained prominence during World War II with ...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 (July 10, 1920 – June 11, 2003) 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 ...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 (July 29, 1938 – August 7, 2005) was a Canadian-American journalist who served as the sole anchor of ABC World News Tonight from 1983 until his death from ...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 Koppel (born February 8, 1940) is a British-born American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline, from the program's inception in 1980 until 2005. ...more
6
Tom Brokaw is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 79
Thomas John Brokaw (; born February 6, 1940) is an American television journalist and author, best known for being the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News for 22 years (1982–2004). He ...more
7
Harry Reasoner is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 68 (1923-1991)
Harry Truman Reasoner (April 17, 1923 – August 6, 1991) 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 ...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 (July 14, 1927 – July 12, 1996) was an 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 ...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 (born December 22, 1945) is an American television journalist. Sawyer has been the anchor of ABC News's nightly flagship program ABC World News, a co-anchor of ABC News's ...more
11
Chet Huntley is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 63 (1911-1974)
Chester Robert "Chet" Huntley (December 10, 1911 – March 20, 1974) was an American television newscaster, best known for co-anchoring NBC's evening news program, The Huntley-Brinkley ...more
12
Hugh Downs is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Hugh Downs age 98
Hugh Malcolm Downs (born February 14, 1921) is a retired American broadcaster, television host, news anchor, TV producer, author, game show host, and music composer. He is perhaps best known for ...more
13
Jane Pauley is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 68
Margaret Jane Pauley (born October 31, 1950), known as Jane Pauley, is an American television journalist and author, active in news reporting since 1972. She is the anchor of CBS Sunday Morning. ...more
14
Barbara Walters is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 89
Barbara Jill Walters (born September 25, 1929) is an American broadcast journalist, author, and television personality. Walters has hosted a variety of television programs, including Today, The ...more
15
Roger Mudd is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 91
Roger Harrison Mudd (born February 9, 1928) is a retired American broadcast journalist who was a correspondent and anchor for CBS News and NBC News. He worked most recently as the primary anchor ...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 (November 26, 1912 – July 9, 1992) was an American author and CBS news journalist from 1939 to 1977. He was one of a group of elite war correspondents who were hired by CBS ...more
17
Dan Rather is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 87
Dan Irvin Rather Jr. (; born October 31, 1931) is an American journalist. Rather began his career in Texas and was on the scene of the Kennedy assassination in Dallas in 1963. His reporting ...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 (born December 16, 1941) is an American television journalist. She has spent most of her career with CBS News, having been affiliated with that network since 1972; since 1991, ...more
19
Sam Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 84
Samuel Andrew Donaldson Jr. (born March 11, 1934) is an American former reporter and news anchor, serving with ABC News from 1967 to 2013. He is best known as the network's White House ...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 (born October 30, 1946) is an American television journalist, anchor, and commentator for NBC News, based in Washington, D.C. She is the NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs ...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 (née Boggs; born December 27, 1943), best known as Cokie Roberts, is an American journalist and a bestseller-author. She is a commentator on ...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 (November 29, 1923 – July 20, 1983) was an American television journalist for CBS and ABC News.Reynolds was a New York-based anchor of the ABC Evening News from 1968 to 1970 ...more
24
Jim Lehrer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 84
James Charles Lehrer (; born May 19, 1934) is an American journalist and novelist. Lehrer is the former Executive Editor and a former News Anchor for the PBS NewsHour on PBS, and is known for ...more
25
Ann Curry is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
age 62
Ann Curry (born November 19, 1956) is an American journalist and photojournalist who has been a reporter for more than 30 years, focused on human suffering in war zones and natural disasters. ...more