Our list of influential women in communications celebrates a powerful and diverse group of women using their voices to create change. Whether as journalists, writers, or broadcasters, these women are shaping the discourse of current political and social issues while serving as inspirations for future generations of female leaders.
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Top 10 Women in Communications From the Last 10 Years
We live in a world where communication is constant: texts, tweets, and emails are carried around in our pockets. Because of this constant flood of information, communications professionals and communications departments now face the challenge of helping separate fact from fiction regarding what a communications degree is and how it can be used.
This daunting task is being tackled not only by those in traditional media, but also by a new generation of communications professionals embarking on exciting careers as social media directors and podcast hosts.
Organizations like The Association for Women in Communications are committed to closing the representation gap and championing the advancement of women across all communications disciplines by recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and positioning its members at the forefront of the evolving communications era.
The women who have defied the odds and risen to prominence in the communications field include household names such as Oprah Winfrey and Diane Sawyer who we look to for news, advice, and inspiration. In addition to communications stars, many women work “behind the scenes” to shape public thought. Rebekah Brooks was the youngest female editor of a British national newspaper, and has risen to become CEO of News UK. Of course all of these women owe it to communications trailblazers like Lesley Stahl and Gloria Steinem who used their careers to champion the ways women could transform the communications industry and society at large.
Influence is dynamic, therefore some of the people listed are contemporary scholars and professionals related to communications. In this list we include women whose primary profession is in communications, whose educational backgrounds are in communications, or whose careers have been in academia as professors of communications. We allowed for only a few exceptions to the requirement of formal education in communications. Diane Sawyer (BA English), Gayle King (BA Psychology), and Amy Goodman (BA Anthropology), as examples do not have degrees in communications, but they have become undeniably influential journalists. In all cases, according to our AI, these are the most cited and searched women in communications over the past 10 years.
50 Influential Women in Communications From the Last 10 Years
1954 - Present (69 years)
Oprah Gail Winfrey is an American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and media proprietor. She is best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, broadcast from Chicago, which ran in national syndication for 25 years, from 1986 to 2011. Dubbed the “Queen of All Media”, she was the richest African-American of the 20th century and was once the world’s only black billionaire. By 2007, she was often ranked as the most influential woman in the world.
Rebekah Mary Brooks is a British media executive and former journalist and newspaper editor. She has been chief executive officer of News UK since 2015. She was previously CEO of News International from 2009 to 2011 and was the youngest editor of a British national newspaper at News of the World, from 2000 to 2003, and the first female editor of The Sun, from 2003 to 2009. Brooks married actor Ross Kemp in 2002. They divorced in 2009 and she married former racehorse trainer and author Charlie Brooks.
Sophie Rebecca Long is an English journalist who works for BBC News, mainly appearing as a presenter on the BBC News Channel. On 18 March 2013, Long and co-presenter Simon McCoy read the final BBC News bulletin from BBC Television Centre.
Robin Roberts is an American television broadcaster. Roberts is the anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America. Roberts was the first woman of color and first openly LGBT woman to host the American TV game show Jeopardy!
Gayle King is an American television personality, author and broadcast journalist for CBS News, co-hosting its flagship morning program, CBS Mornings, and before that its predecessor CBS This Morning. She is also an editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine.
Christiane Maria Heideh Amanpour is a British-Iranian journalist and television host. Amanpour is the Chief International Anchor for CNN and host of CNN International’s nightly interview program Amanpour. She is also the host of Amanpour & Company on PBS.
Anahit Misak Kasparian is an American political commentator, media host, and journalist. She is the main host and a producer of the online news show The Young Turks, having begun working as a fill-in producer for the show in 2007. She also appeared on the television version of the show that aired on Current TV. She formerly hosted The Point on the TYT Network and currently co-hosts a Jacobin YouTube show, Weekends with Ana Kasparian and Nando Vila.
Lila Diane Sawyer is an American television broadcast journalist known for anchoring major programs on two networks including ABC World News Tonight, Good Morning America, 20/20, and Primetime newsmagazine while at ABC News. During her tenure at CBS News she hosted CBS Morning and was the first woman correspondent on 60 Minutes. Prior to her journalism career, she was a member of U.S. President Richard Nixon’s White House staff and assisted in his post-presidency memoirs. Presently she works for ABC News producing documentaries and interview specials.
Amy Goodman is an American broadcast journalist, syndicated columnist, investigative reporter, and author. Her investigative journalism career includes coverage of the East Timor independence movement, Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, and Chevron Corporation’s role in Nigeria.
Katharine Sophie Viner is a British journalist and playwright. She became the first female editor-in-chief at The Guardian on 1 June 2015 succeeding Alan Rusbridger. Viner previously headed The Guardians web operations in Australia and the United States, before being selected for the editor-in-chief’s position.
Anna Carolina Neurath is a Swedish journalist and writer. She specializes in writing business articles for the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. In 2016 her first work of fiction, Fartblinda, was published.
Sacha Pfeiffer is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and radio host. In November 2018, she joined NPR as an investigations correspondent. Pfeiffer is known for her work with the Spotlight team run by The Boston Globe. She was a member of the group of reporters whose work in exposing the Roman Catholic church’s cover-up of clergy sex abuse earned the newspaper the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
Heather Unruh is an American journalist and former television news anchor. She worked for News Center 5 at WCVB for more than fifteen years. Education Unruh is a 1986 graduate of Lincoln High School in Stockton, California and a 1989 graduate of DePauw University.
Win McMurry is an American sportscaster. Until October 2013, she anchored Golf Channel’s “PGA Tour Primetime” and reported for Golf Central, Morning Drive and other programming features and specials. She is also the host of a series of travel shows on GolfChannel.com titled “Gone With the Win”, and McMurry is also the resident fantasy golf expert, as well as the network’s authority on golf fashion.
Alisyn Lane Camerota is an American broadcast journalist and political commentator. She currently hosts CNN Tonight from 10–11 pm. She formerly was anchor of CNN’s morning show New Day, a co-host of the afternoon edition of CNN Newsroom, as well as a presenter at Fox News. Camerota has covered stories nationally and internationally and has twice been nominated for an Emmy Award for news reporting.
Christina Hambley Brown, Lady Evans , is an English journalist, magazine editor, columnist, broadcaster, and author. She is the former editor in chief of Tatler , Vanity Fair and The New Yorker , and the founding editor in chief of The Daily Beast . From 1998 to 2002, Brown was chairman of Talk Media, which included Talk Magazine and Talk Miramax Books.
Anaridis Rodriguez-Starnino is an American journalist. She currently anchors and reports for the CBS owned-and-operated WBZ-TV in Boston. The journalist also worked for The Weather Channel. She is the former news anchor on America’s Morning Headquarters.
Emma Alberici is an Australian journalist and former foreign correspondent who was the chief economics correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s television network. Alberici was until 2017 the presenter of ABC TV’s flagship current affairs program, Lateline. She has been a foreign correspondent for the ABC. She previously worked as a reporter for the ABC’s The 7.30 Report and Lateline, and was also a reporter and producer with A Current Affair on Australia’s Nine Network.
Savannah Clark Guthrie is an Australian-born American broadcast journalist and attorney. She is a main co-anchor of the NBC News, morning show Today, a position she has held since July 2012. Guthrie joined NBC News in September 2007 as a legal analyst and correspondent, regularly reporting on trials throughout the country. After serving as a White House correspondent between 2008 and 2011 and as co-anchor of the MSNBC program The Daily Rundown in 2010 and 2011, Guthrie was announced as the co-host of Todays third hour alongside Natalie Morales and Al Roker. In that role, she substituted as ne...
Sue Gardner is a Canadian journalist, not-for-profit executive and business executive. She was the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation from December 2007 until May 2014, and before that was the director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s website and online news outlets.
Marysol Castro is a public address announcer at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. She was also an American broadcast journalist who was employed as a news anchor at WPIX in New York, a weather forecaster for The Early Show on CBS in 2011, and a features correspondent for the weekend edition of Good Morning America on ABC from 2004 to 2010. In June 2015, Castro joined New Haven-based WTNH-TV to fill in for weekday morning traffic reports and anchor until mid-November 2015. In January 2019, Castro joined the booth of the Android and iOS app BallparkDJ making it possible for any youth soft...
Shoma Chaudhury is an Indian journalist, editor, and political commentator. She was managing editor and one of the founders of Tehelka, an investigative public interest newsmagazine. She also co-founded and was director of THiNK, an international conference of ideas, and Algebra, the Arts & Ideas Club, a platform for live conversations with prominent Indians. Chaudhury is the founder of Lucid Lines Productions, an intellectual properties company.
Kirsten Anne Powers is an American author, liberal columnist, and political analyst. She currently writes for USA Today, and is an on-air political analyst at CNN, where she appears regularly on Anderson Cooper 360°, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, and The Lead with Jake Tapper. The Washington Post called her “bright-eyed, sharp-tongued, [and] gamely combative”. The New Republic noted Powers “held her own in any debate” at Fox News and quoted columnist Erik Wemple, who called her “a ferocious advocate for her points of view”.
Maureen Brigid Dowd is an American columnist for The New York Times and an author. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Dowd worked for The Washington Star and Time, writing news, sports and feature articles. She joined The New York Times in 1983 as a metropolitan reporter, and became an op-ed writer in 1995.
Dana Marie Perino is an American political commentator and author who served as the 26th White House Press Secretary, under President George W. Bush from September 14, 2007, to January 20, 2009. She was the second female White House Press Secretary, after Dee Dee Myers, who served during the Clinton administration.