A good television broadcaster is both fair and honest. A great one is also endearing. Of all the journalists and reporters that deliver us news, only a choice few earn the adoration of their viewers.
Sometimes this appreciation is simply born out of a job well done. Walter Cronkite’s career spanned more than 70 years, during which time he covered some of the nation’s most important moments, including the moon landing and the Vietnam War. The iconic anchorman’s work — which helped develop televised news as it exists today — repeatedly earned him the title of “most trusted man in America.”
Other broadcasters may thrive on their likability. Viewers found it difficult not to warm to Willard Scott, who took breaks from reporting the weather to send birthday wishes to those turning age 100 or older. More recently, NBC’s “Today” host Hoda Kotb has proven to be hugely popular thanks to her high-energy personality and public battle with cancer.
Success does not necessarily include admiration, however. Longtime “60 Minutes” correspondent Mike Wallace was known for his “ambush interviews,” during which he and his team would surprise their subject at work or at home, peppering them with unexpected questions. Wallace’s dramatic style may have made for great television, but it also generated apprehension among audiences.
To determine the most beloved television broadcasters of all time, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of America’s most famous and distinguished broadcasters. The index included two metrics: the number of years each person was active in his or her career and the number of Wikipedia page views each person’s page has received over the past two years — from March 18, 2017 to March 18, 2019. Editorial discretion was also used to include broadcasters in cases where these metrics did not fully represent a broadcaster’s exceptional reputation.