Ben Smith Mediaite’s Most Influential in News Media 2019

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ByMediaite StaffDec 17th, 2019, 10:15 am

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It’s been a memorable 2019 in the world of news media and politics that we here at Mediaite cover on a daily basis. While assembling this list, it became clear to our team that so many media personalities not only reported on the biggest events of the year, they helped shape them. You’ll notice cable news features prominently in these rankings. That’s not just because it’s the medium dearest to our heart. In the Trump era, cable news is a central character, the prism through which the news is so often seen. 2019 was also a year in which the law was a fixation of media coverage, thanks to the polarizing conclusion of the Russia investigation and an international scandal that will likely result in the president’s impeachment (this week, we should note).

In our judgment, 75 industry figures stood out in 2019 in terms of the influence they wielded. Our criteria was comprehensive but also subjective. Some metrics, such as ratings, social media reach, and time-slot placement are easily measurable. Other factors, like gravitas, proximity to power, and influence of one’s audience, are more abstract. While harder to decipher, these latter variables figure prominently in our rankings.

Here, we rank the anchors, pundits, reporters, editors, executives, writers, late night comics and others who demonstrated they have the most clout in the world we hold dear. Once again, this list is released in conjunction with our annual party celebrating the year in news media.

Without further ado, the staff of Mediaite is proud to share its 2019 selections for the Most Influential in News Media — presented by History.

This list was written by Tamar Auber, Tommy Christopher, Joe DePaolo, Caleb Ecarma, Colby Hall, Caleb Howe, Josh Feldman, Connor Mannion, Aidan McLaughlin, Ken Meyer, Charlie Nash and Reed Richardson.


75. Laura Coates

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In a year of news intensely focused on the law, budding starLaura Coatesgot the chance in 2019 to show CNN’s audience that she can do more than just offer sharp-eyed legal analysis on an eight-person mega-panel. Though she has only been with the network for three years, in late June she made her debut in the anchor chair, filling in for CNN’sDon Lemon— which she has by now been doing fairly regularly. Many have speculated that The George Washington University law professor may take over the 11 p.m. hour to both give Lemon a break (everyone else in prime time is doing one hour) and to shepherd CNN viewers through the often byzantine and legally-convoluted Trump impeachment storyline.


74. Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor of Crooked Media

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Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Few podcasts have been as influential in the Trump era asPod Save America. What started as a weekly “no bullshit” chat between Obama administration alumniJon Favreau,Dan Pfeiffer,Jon Lovett, andTommy Vietor, guiding jittery liberals through the 2016 election, has grown into a sizable media company, dubbed Crooked Media, guiding terrified liberals through the Trump era. The Obama Bros are now Pod Bros, with an HBO partnership and a massive audience flocking to not only their flagship show —Pod Save America— but also successful projects likePod Save the World,Hysteria, andThis Land.


73. Julie K. Brown

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Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Julie K. Brownof theMiami Heraldcan single-handedly take credit for shining a light on the horrific but vital story ofJeffrey Epstein. The investigative journalist’s work, which dropped in a series of reports in late 2018, blew the lid off the underaged sex ring run by the well-connected financier. Brown’s investigation, which she worked on for years, exposed a

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