Top 12 Most Influential Journalists Of Today

Most influential journalists in the industry today

The basis of journalism as the fourth estate and a watchdog for corruption and injustice brings an unequivocal responsibility for journalists to be equally skilled and hard-working as they are virtuous and ethical. However, it could be argued that the digital world we live in today, with its instantaneous access to information, click-bait culture and citizen journalism, has seriously impeded the prevalence of quality journalists.

Despite this, journalists who showcase outstanding work and are considered as highly influential risk-takers in today’s media still exist. Here is a list of 12 noteworthy names all journalism students should know of right now (if not already):

Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk

He is a British journalist and best-selling author from Maidstone, Kent, who has been based in Beirut as the Middle East correspondent for The Independent for over 20 years. He has received several awards, including the British Press Awards International Journalist of the Year (which he’s been voted for seven times in total) and holds more British and international journalism awards than any other foreign correspondent. He was one of very few Western journalists who got to interview Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden during the 1990s; and managed to do it three times. Known for his fearlessness in reporting and ability to access notoriously inaccessible figures and places, Fisk has extensively covered the Persian Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan and the Iraq War between 1990 and 2003.

Kate Adie

Kate Adie

Kathryn “Kate” Adie is a British journalist who currently presents From Our Own Correspondent on BBC Radio 4 as well as doing freelance journalism. Her most well-known work was as Chief News Correspondent at BBC News where she covered many war zones and was rewarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire award in 1993 for excellence in journalism. Her big break came when she famously reported live and unscripted on the London Iranian Embassy siege in 1980, whilst crouched behind a car door amongst exploding smoke bombs and soldiers. She is also a best-selling author of several books including her autobiography The Kindness of Strangers, Nobody’s Child and Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One.

Christiane Amanpour

Christiane Amanpour

Amanpour is currently the global affairs anchor for ABC News in the United States as well as the Chief International Correspondent for CNN International where she also hosts Amanpour- its nightly interview program. According to PR firm, Burson-Marstellar, she is known as one of the journalists who is most followed by world leaders on Twitter. Amanpour’s journalistic career spans three decades, during which she’s interviewed Hosni Mubarak (she was the only journalist to do so) and Muammar Ghadafi during the Arab Spring. For her outstanding reporting, she has won every major broadcast award, including nine News and Documentary Emmys, an inaugural Television Academy Award, three DuPont-Columbia Awards and two George Polk Awards. She also received the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2011 as well as a Giants in Broadcasting award in the same year. Amanpour is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Women’s Media Foundation and also the Center for Public Integrity.

Hu Shuli

Hu Shuli

Hu Shuli is a Chinese journalist who is currently the editor-in-chief of media group, Caixin Media in which she founded in 2009. Shuli had also been chief reporter and international editor of China Business Times before founding Caijing, a business and finance magazine which she was also editor-in-chief of for 11 years. Considered one of the most respected reporters in such a media-restrained country, she was listed as the 87th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2011 – the same year she was listed among the Top 100 Influential People by Time magazine. Known for her bold prowess in the industry and her investigative work on fraud and corruption, she’s currently a board member of the International Women’s Media Foundation. She also sits on the Reuters Editorial Advisory Board as well as having a regional advisory role in the International Center for Journalists.

Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward

Robert Upshur “Bob” Woodward is an American journalist who is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated journalists of this century after having exposed the Watergate scandal during President Nixon’s time in office. He covered much of the news reporting on the scandal with colleague Carl Bernstein whilst working as an investigative reporter at the Washington Post in 1972. He is currently the associate editor of the Post. Woodward has since written and released 16 books – all of which have been national best-sellers; 12 of them being No.1 national non-fiction best-sellers. Due to his and Bernstein’s reporting on Watergate, the Post won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1972 and his contributions towards coverage on the 9/11 attacks also won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2002. He has otherwise received nearly every other major journalism award in America.

Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper

Anderson Cooper, is an American journalist who currently hosts his own news program, Anderson Cooper 360. He has been hosting the show since 2003 after having been an ABC News correspondent in 1995 and then an anchor on CNN a few years later. The Anderson Cooper 360 news program propelled the host in becoming a household name after his coverage on the war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina. Since 1993 where he won a Bronze Telly Award for his coverage of famine in Somalia, Cooper has continuously won numerous awards for his work. Some of these include four Emmy Awards (he was nominated on five other occasions), a Peabody Award and a National Headliner Award.

Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux

Louis Sebastian Theroux is a British journalist and documentary filmmaker with the BBC. Most notable for his exploration of marginal and off-beat cultural subjects in his show Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends and celebrities’ daily lives in When Louis Met…, the famous broadcaster is one of television’s most recognizable documentarians. His career began as a writer before he transitioned to television as a correspondent for Michael Moore’s satirical news program, TV Nation. The famously unassuming reporter is known for his ability to get his subjects – most of whom live extremely exclusive lives – to open up easily with the persona of merely a dispassionate observer. He has been nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on TV Nation, as well as having won two BAFTA Awards (nominated three times) and a Royal Television Society Award (nominated twice) for When Louis Met… and Weird Weekends.

Diane Sawyer

Diane Sawyer

Sawyer is an American journalist who was the first female 60 Minutes correspondent and most recently anchored for ABC World News until September 2014. She currently does high-profile interviews and specials for ABC News. Beginning her career at the local news station and then the White House press office in 1970 at a time where there were very few female journalists, she was considered a great pioneer for the women who followed in her footsteps. During her long-standing career, Sawyer has co-anchored Primetime Live, 20/20 as well as ABC’s morning show Good Morning America, which she held for much longer than anticipated due to her popularity in the position; one she also received an Emmy Award for in 2000. She also won an Emmy in 2007 for her reporting on ABC World News, along with numerous others like the Peabody Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award during her time on the show. Sawyer has also frequented the annual Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women since 2004.

Shereen Bhan

Shereen Bhan

Bhan is an Indian reporter who produces and anchors numerous flagship shows like India Business Hour, The Nation’s Business, Young Turks and Power Turks. She is also the Delhi Bureau Chief and Executive Head of CNBC-TV18 in India. Her effortless delivery of news with a cheerful and friendly disposition has made her a national favourite and as such, has won several awards. Some of these include the FICCI Woman Of The Year Award in 2005 and she was also named as one of the Young Global Leaders of 2009 at the World Economic Forum.

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is an American journalist, lawyer and author who has been a columnist for The Guardian and Salon.com from 2007 through to 2013. He’s also been a frequent contributing writer for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, The National Interest and In These Times. However, he’s most well-known for being the chief recipient and publisher of America’s most significant leak in history – Edward Snowden’s classified documents in 2013. The series that detailed critical United States and British global surveillance programs was published in The Guardian. As a result, Greenwald won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2014 along with numerous other International Awards for excellence in journalism. He’d also been named one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013 by Foreign Policy Magazine and is now one of the founding editors of The Intercept – a privately financed investigative journalism venture looking to fulfil the role of watchdog and publish robust information on worldwide news.

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart

Jonathan “Jon” Stewart is an American director, producer, writer, actor, comedian, media critic and political satirist. Although not technically a “journalist” perse, Stewart’s considered as one of media’s most influential personalities amongst the younger demographic through his coverage on pressing social and political issues. Hosting the political satire, The Daily Show on Comedy Central for 20 seasons, he made quite a name for himself as the most outspoken critic of American politics and news media. His show consistently ranked as one of the top programs viewed by 18-34 year olds and was said to have significant pull amongst young voters. After having criticized Tucker Carlson on his show, Crossfire, for encouraging separation of political parties in the United States and thus creating division among its citizens, the show was cancelled. With Stewart at the helm, The Daily Show won two Peabody Awards in 2000 and 2004 for its presidential elections coverage.

If you’re inspired by these influential journalists and interested in learning more about the broadcast industry, check out NYFA’s broadcast journalism school to get the most hands-on, intensive training in the world.

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    1. Hi there, if you’re interested in broadcast journalism we encourage you to apply at nyfa.edu/applications or contact us directly at 212 674 4300.

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