Influential

The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time 

Ranker News
Updated February 29, 2020 17.3k votes 1.9k voters 67.4k views 55 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)

Birthplace: Saint Joseph, Missouri, United States of America

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

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2
Jane Pauley is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 68

Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America

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

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3
Lesley Stahl is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 77

Birthplace: USA, Lynn, Massachusetts

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
4
Andrea Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 72

Birthplace: New 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 ...more

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#53 of 153 The Most Ridiculous Political Pundits #3 of 47 The Most Trustworthy Newscasters on TV Today

5
Tom Brokaw is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 79

Birthplace: Webster, South Dakota, United States of America

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

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6
Edward R. Murrow is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 57 (1908-1965)

Birthplace: USA, North Carolina

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

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#8 of 48 The Best Retired News Anchors #10 of 26 26 Celebrities Who Are Quakers

7
David Brinkley is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 83 (1920-2003)

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 ...more

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#39 of 113 The Most Influential Contemporary Americans #3 of 48 The Best Retired News Anchors

8
Peter Jennings is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1938-2005)

Birthplace: Toronto, 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 ...more
9
Ted Koppel is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 79

Birthplace: Nelson, 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. ...more

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10
Dan Rather is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 87

Birthplace: Wharton, Texas, United States of America

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

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#81 of 153 The Most Ridiculous Political Pundits #14 of 48 The Best Retired News Anchors #12 of 22 Celebrities Who Live in Austin

11
Harry Reasoner is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 68 (1923-1991)

Birthplace: Dakota 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 ...more
12
Diane Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 73

Birthplace: Glasgow, 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 ...more

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13
Barbara Walters is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 89

Birthplace: Boston, USA, Massachusetts

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

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14
Sam Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 84

Birthplace: El Paso, Texas, United States of America

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
15
Anderson Cooper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 51

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Anderson Hays Cooper (born June 3, 1967) is an American journalist, television personality, and author. He is the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. The program is ...more

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16
Tim Russert is listed (or ranked) 16 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.

17
John Chancellor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 69 (1927-1996)

Birthplace: Chicago, 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
18
Brian Williams is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 59

Birthplace: USA, Ridgewood, New Jersey

Brian Douglas Williams (born May 5, 1959) is an American journalist at NBC News, currently serving as the chief anchor for the network's cable news channel MSNBC and as host of the network's ...more

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19
Hugh Downs is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Hugh Downs Age: 98

Birthplace: USA, Akron, Ohio

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
20
Roger Mudd is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 91

Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States of America

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
21
Chet Huntley is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Dec. at 63 (1911-1974)

Birthplace: Cardwell, 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 ...more
22
Stone Phillips is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 64

Birthplace: Texas City, Texas, United States of America

Stone Stockton Phillips (born December 2, 1954) is an American television reporter and correspondent. He is best known as the former co-anchor of Dateline NBC, a news magazine TV series. He also ...more
23
Katie Couric is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 58

Birthplace: Virginia, USA

Katherine Anne Couric ( KURR-ik; born January 7, 1957) is an American journalist and author. She recently served as Yahoo's Global News Anchor. Couric has been a television host on all Big Three ...more

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24
Cokie Roberts is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 75

Birthplace: New 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 ...more

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25
Ann Curry is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential News Anchors of All Time
Age: 62

Birthplace: Guam

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

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