The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time

Over 3.8K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Voting 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! 

Most divisive: Jane Pauley
Ranked by
  • Walter Cronkite
    1
    Dec. at 92 (1916-2009)
    1,407 votes
    • Birthplace: St. Joseph, Missouri, USA
    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 CBS News in the 1960s and 1970s, he was often cited as "the most trusted man in America" after being so named in an opinion poll.He reported many events from 1937 to 1981, including bombings in World War II; the Nuremberg trials; combat in the Vietnam War; the Dawson's Field hijackings; Watergate; the Iran Hostage Crisis; and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr., and Beatles musician John Lennon. He was also known for his extensive coverage of the U.S. space program, from Project Mercury to the Moon landings to the Space Shuttle. He was the only non-NASA recipient of an Ambassador of Exploration award.Cronkite is well known for his departing catchphrase, "And that's the way it is," followed by the date of the broadcast.
  • Edward R. Murrow
    2
    Dec. at 57 (1908-1965)
    717 votes
    • Birthplace: Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
    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 a series of live radio broadcasts from Europe for the news division of CBS. During the war he recruited and worked closely with a team of war correspondents who came to be known as the Murrow Boys. A pioneer of radio and television news broadcasting, Murrow produced a series of reports on his television program See It Now which helped lead to the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Fellow journalists Eric Sevareid, Ed Bliss, Bill Downs, Dan Rather, and Alexander Kendrick consider Murrow one of journalism's greatest figures, noting his honesty and integrity in delivering the news.
  • David Brinkley
    3
    Dec. at 82 (1920-2003)
    778 votes
    • Birthplace: Wilmington, USA, North Carolina
    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 nightly news program, The Huntley–Brinkley Report, with Chet Huntley and thereafter appeared as co-anchor or commentator on its successor, NBC Nightly News, through the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, Brinkley was host of the popular Sunday This Week with David Brinkley program and a top commentator on election-night coverage for ABC News. Over the course of his career, Brinkley received ten Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.He wrote three books, including the 1988 bestseller Washington Goes to War, about how World War II transformed the nation's capital. This social history was largely based on his own observations as a young reporter in the city.
  • Peter Jennings
    4
    Dec. at 67 (1938-2005)
    866 votes
    • Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    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 lung cancer in 2005. He dropped out of high school, yet he transformed himself into one of American television's most prominent journalists. Jennings started his career early, hosting a Canadian radio show at age 9. He began his professional career with CJOH-TV in Ottawa during its early years, anchoring the local newscasts and hosting the teen dance show Saturday Date on Saturdays. In 1965, ABC News tapped him to anchor its flagship evening news program. Critics and others in the television news business attacked his inexperience, making his job difficult. He became a foreign correspondent in 1968, reporting from the Middle East. Jennings returned as one of World News Tonight's three anchormen in 1978, and he was promoted to sole anchorman in 1983. He was also known for his marathon coverage of breaking news stories, staying on the air for 15 hours or more to anchor the live broadcast of events such as the Gulf War in 1991, the Millennium celebrations in 2000, and the September 11 attacks in 2001. In addition to anchoring, he was the host of many ABC News special reports and moderated several American presidential debates. He was always fascinated with the United States and became an American citizen in 2003. Jennings was one of the "Big Three" news anchormen, along with Tom Brokaw of NBC and Dan Rather of CBS, who dominated American evening network news from the early 1980s until his death in 2005, which closely followed the retirements of Brokaw in 2004 and Rather in 2005.
  • Tom Brokaw
    5
    Age: 83
    927 votes
    • Birthplace: Webster, South Dakota, USA
    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 is the only person to have hosted all three major NBC News programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and, briefly, Meet the Press. He now serves as a Special Correspondent for NBC News and works on documentaries for other outlets.Along with competitors Peter Jennings at ABC News and Dan Rather at CBS News, Brokaw was one of the "Big Three" news anchors in the U.S. during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. The three hosted their networks' flagship nightly news programs for over 20 years, and all three started and retired (or died, in Jennings's case) within a year of each other.Brokaw has also written several books on American history and society in the 20th century. He is the author of The Greatest Generation (1998) and other books and the recipient of numerous awards and honors.
  • Harry Reasoner
    6
    Dec. at 68 (1923-1991)
    632 votes
    • Birthplace: Dakota City, Iowa, USA
    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 the 60 Minutes program. Over the course of his career, Reasoner won three Emmy Awards and a George Foster Peabody Award in 1967.