Special Report

20 Influential People to Watch in 2020

For most of the history of mass media, the people who influenced the culture were limited to those in entertainment, politics, education, and occasionally sports. They did so through media such as print, radio, and broadcast television. Social media, the internet, and 24-hour news cycles have changed all that, influencing what we watch, buy, listen to, and read. 

As the year winds down, 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the 20 influential people to watch in 2020. We considered heads of state in the world’s largest countries, CEOs of the largest public companies, leaders of the world’s largest publishers and internet companies, leaders of global foundations, political figures in the public spotlight, and individuals on Time’s “The Most Influential People of 2019” and Forbes’ “The World’s Most Powerful People.” 

To approximate influence in 2020, we reviewed such measures as number of individual donors reported in campaign finance reports, numbers of social media followers, total Wikipedia page views in 2019 for selected individuals, and valuations of public and private companies. We ensured our list covered numerous spheres of influence, from politics to entertainment to business to sports by limiting the number of individuals that could appear in any one of these categories. 

While it is true that the aforementioned culture bearers in entertainment, politics, and sports have used social media to their advantage, digital platforms have opened up communication opportunities for others, such as fashion icons, bloggers, and even religious leaders. Besides being influential, some of these people are also among the world’s most admired people. Here are the most admired people of the year.

In addition to politicians and entertainment figures on our list such as Nancy Pelosi and Cardi B, we’ve also included activists like the Hong Kong protesters and Greta Thunberg. Demonstrators in Hong Kong have taken to the streets over concerns about the encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy by a repressive China. Thunberg, who at 16 years old recently became Time magazine’s youngest person of the year, has spoken up on behalf of her generation’s fears about climate change. Here is our list of heroes fighting to save our oceans.

Click here to see the 20 most influential people to watch in 2020