Influential
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The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time

Updated October 7, 2020 30.1k votes 2.8k voters 118.2k 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 Cronkite

    Dec. at 93 (1916-2009)

    BirthplaceSaint Joseph, Missouri, United States of America

    Alternative NameWalter Cronkite

    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...  more

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    #256 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#742 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time

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    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 ABC in a career lasting from 1943 to 1997. From 1956 through 1970, he co-anchored NBC's top-rated nightly...  more
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    556
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    Edward R. Murrow

    Dec. at 57 (1908-1965)

    BirthplaceUSA, North Carolina

    Alternative NameEdward R. Murrow

    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...  more
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    640
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    Peter Jennings

    Dec. at 67 (1938-2005)

    BirthplaceToronto, 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...  more
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    Tom Brokaw

    Age: 80

    BirthplaceWebster, 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...  more

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    #13 of 48 The Best Today Show Hosts#30 of 127 All The People Accused Of Sexual Harassment Post-Harvey Weinstein

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    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 CBS News, known for his inventive use of language as a television commentator, and as a founder of the...  more
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    Ted Koppel

    Age: 80

    BirthplaceNelson, United Kingdom

    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. Before...  more

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    Hugh Downs

    Age: 99

    BirthplaceAkron, Ohio, USA

    Hugh Malcolm Downs (born February 14, 1921) was a retired American broadcaster, television host, news anchor, TV producer, author, game show host, and music composer. He was perhaps best known for...  more

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    BirthplaceIndianapolis, Indiana, USA

    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
  • 10
    352
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    John Chancellor

    Dec. at 69 (1927-1996)

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    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
  • 11
    437
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    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.

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    BirthplaceLynn, Massachusetts, USA

    Alternative NameLeslie Stahl

    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, she...  more
  • 13
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    BirthplaceGlasgow, Kentucky, United States of America

    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 morning...  more

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    #80 of 574 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures#2 of 50 Favorite Good Morning America Hosts

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    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 newscaster, best known for co-anchoring NBC's evening news program, The Huntley-Brinkley Report, for 14...  more
  • 15
    291
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    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.

  • 16
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    Roger Mudd

    Age: 92

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., USA

    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 for...  more
  • 17
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    Dan Rather

    Age: 88

    BirthplaceTexas, USA, Wharton

    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 elevated...  more

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    BirthplaceEl Paso, Texas, USA

    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 Correspondent...  more
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    Eric Sevareid

    Dec. at 80 (1912-1992)

    BirthplaceVelva, North Dakota, USA

    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
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    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    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 Correspondent,...  more

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    #70 of 160 The Most Ridiculous Political Pundits#4 of 50 The Most Trustworthy Newscasters on TV Today

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    BirthplaceBoston, Massachusetts, USA

    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 View,...  more

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    #43 of 131 The Most Annoying TV Hosts#31 of 309 Famous People Most Likely to Live to 100

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    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 the former Executive Editor and a former News Anchor for the PBS NewsHour on PBS, and is known for his...  more
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    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 for CBS and ABC News.Reynolds was a New York-based anchor of the ABC Evening News from 1968 to 1970 and...  more
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    BirthplaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    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 contract to...  more

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    #19 of 26 The Hottest Women of NPR#50 of 149 Celebrities Who Died In 2019

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    Brit Hume

    Age: 77

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., United States of America

    Alexander Britton "Brit" Hume (born June 22, 1943) is an American conservative television commentator and political commentator. Hume had a 23-year career with ABC News, where he contributed to World...  more