5 Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper’s rise to stardom followed a traumatic childhood. His father died suddenly in 1977 during open-heart surgery. Cooper was just 10 years old. Less than a decade later, his brother committed suicide. Cooper became empowered to figure out why some people survive and others don’t, claiming that reporting news on wars just seemed logical. In the early 1990s, he took a camera to Asia and got footage of some of the turmoil in the southeast region. That raw coverage landed him the position of chief international correspondent for “Channel One” — a news program for U.S. schools. By 1995, ABC put Cooper on as a news correspondent, then promoted him to co-anchor of “World News Now.” In 2003, Cooper landed his own show on CNN, “Anderson Cooper 360.” By 2013, he manages to stay busy by reporting the news with CNN and hosting his signature talk show, “Anderson Live.”
4 Katie Couric
Katie Couric was born to be in the spotlight. Her father was a journalist and her mother was a public relations executive. After earning an American Studies degree from the University of Virginia in 1979, Couric moved to Washington, D.C., determined to land a career in news reporting. While working her way up from desk assistant with ABC, Couric picked up producing and on-air reporting jobs around the country with CNN. By the late ’80s, she settled back in D.C. and accepted a reporter position with NBC. Her reporting of the U.S. invasion of Panama and the Persian Gulf War made her well-known to Americans. By 1991, she had worked her way up to a co-anchor position on the “Today” show, then became the first lone woman to anchor the CBS “Evening News” in 2006. As of 2013, Couric hosts a talk show called “Katie” on ABC.
3 Brian Williams
Brian Williams started out working for a small news network in Kansas in the early 1980s. After building up an audience, he was hired by a network in New York City, bringing him back to his home state. Even though Williams earned an Emmy Award for his reporting of the 1987 stock market collapse, he had a reputation for being stiff and unable to connect with audiences. He continued to climb the ranks in spite of that, though, working as a White House correspondent and co-anchor of several news programs. The “Nightly News with Brian Williams” debuted in 2004, after Williams took over the spot from previous anchorman Tom Brokaw. Williams became a household name after his emotional reporting of hurricane Katrina in 2005. He continues to build his audience by making comedic appearances on “The Daily Show” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
2 Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite is truly a news legend. He had a crucial role in launching the CBS “Evening News” back in 1962. Cronkite remained the show’s leading anchorman for nearly two decades, reporting through the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. He was known for his signature signoff line—“And that’s the way it is”—as well as his level-headed ability to honestly report the facts, making him a highly trusted news anchor. Cronkite retired from the “Evening News” in 1981 at 65 years of age, but went on to produce and make small appearances on several history programs. In 2009, Cronkite passed away from complications of cerebrovascular disease, although the impact he made on news reporting lives on.
1 Barbara Walters
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Barbara Walters was surrounded by spotlights from an early age. Her father, Lou Walters, a nightclub entrepreneur, opened up clubs from Boston to Miami Beach. Because celebrities were a big part of her father’s business, Walters always had a knack for being comfortable around glitz and glam. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College 1953, Walters’ calm collective personality shined through in her career path. She was hired on as a writer and researcher with the “Today” show in the early 1960s. Eventually, she worked her way up to co-host based on her ability to communicate and seamlessly rub elbows with Hollywood’s finest. She went on to co-host “20/20” and was the first woman to co-anchor an evening news program. As of 2013, Walters keeps on going — at the age of 83 — by co-hosting “The View.”