Influential
2.6k voters

The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time

Updated October 7, 2020 30.3k votes 2.6k voters 102.6k 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 Cronkite1
    1,102
    152

    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
    590
    128

    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

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    #32 of 105 The Most Influential Contemporary Americans#2 of 48 The Best Retired News Anchors

  • Edward R. Murrow3
    565
    126

    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
    628
    157

    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
    705
    228

    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
  • Harry Reasoner6
    455
    137

    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
    545
    184

    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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  • Jane Pauley8
    869
    345

    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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    #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

  • Hugh Downs9
    370
    119

    Hugh Downs

    Age: 99

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio, United States of America

    Hugh Malcolm Downs (born February 14, 1921) was a retired American broadcaster, television...  more
  • Lesley Stahl10
    818
    341

    BirthplaceLynn, Massachusetts, United States of America

    Lesley Rene Stahl (born December 16, 1941) is an American television journalist. She has spent...  more
  • John Chancellor11
    347
    115

    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
  • 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
    489
    212

    BirthplaceGlasgow, Kentucky, United States of America

    Lila Diane Sawyer (born December 22, 1945) is an American television journalist. Sawyer has...  more
  • Chet Huntley14
    309
    123

    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
  • Dan Rather15
    650
    320

    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
  • Howard K. Smith16
    279
    108

    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.

  • Roger Mudd17
    302
    123

    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
    412
    188

    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
    264
    107

    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
    757
    414

    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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    #3 of 49 The Most Trustworthy Newscasters on TV Today#68 of 160 The Most Ridiculous Political Pundits

  • Barbara Walters21
    494
    278

    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
    211
    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
    240
    111

    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
    287
    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
    286
    161

    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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