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The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time

Updated October 7, 2020 27.2k votes 2.3k voters 86.8k 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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  • 1
    Walter Cronkite is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    988
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    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 on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    David Brinkley is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    530
    102

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Edward R. Murrow is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    512
    102

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Peter Jennings is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    561
    140

    Peter Jennings

    Dec. at 67 (1938-2005)

    BirthplaceToronto, Canada

    Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings (July 29, 1938 – August 7, 2005) was a... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Tom Brokaw is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    632
    205

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Harry Reasoner is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    414
    117

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Ted Koppel is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    497
    163

    Ted Koppel

    Age: 80

    BirthplaceNelson, United Kingdom

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

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  • 8
    Jane Pauley is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    833
    322

    BirthplaceIndianapolis, Indiana, United States of America

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

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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

  • 9
    Lesley Stahl is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    778
    306

    BirthplaceUSA, Lynn, Massachusetts

    Lesley Rene Stahl (born December 16, 1941) is an American television journalist. She has spent... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    John Chancellor is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    318
    95

    John Chancellor

    Dec. at 69 (1927-1996)

    BirthplaceUSA, Chicago, Illinois

    John William Chancellor (July 14, 1927 – July 12, 1996) was an American journalist who spent... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Hugh Downs is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    326
    109

    Hugh Downs

    Age: 99

    BirthplaceUSA, Akron, Ohio

    Hugh Malcolm Downs (born February 14, 1921) was a retired American broadcaster, television... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Tim Russert is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    380
    152

    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.

  • 13
    Chet Huntley is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    281
    102

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Diane Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    443
    192

    BirthplaceGlasgow, Kentucky, United States of America

    Lila Diane Sawyer (born December 22, 1945) is an American television journalist. Sawyer has... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Roger Mudd is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    276
    103

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Dan Rather is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    578
    279

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Sam Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    379
    167

    BirthplaceEl Paso, Texas, USA

    Samuel Andrew Donaldson Jr. (born March 11, 1934) is an American former reporter and news... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Andrea Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    736
    375

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

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

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  • 19
    Eric Sevareid is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    241
    90

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Howard K. Smith is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    242
    93

    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
    Barbara Walters is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    460
    238

    BirthplaceBoston, Massachusetts, United States of America

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

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  • 22
    Frank Reynolds is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    190
    75

    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 on Wikipedia

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    #39 of 137 Famous People Buried at Arlington National Cemetery#20 of 48 The Best Retired News Anchors

  • 23
    Jim Lehrer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    210
    96

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Brit Hume is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    254
    129

    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 on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Cokie Roberts is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
    264
    139

    BirthplaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, USA

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

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