5 Communicators we listened to

1. President-elect Barack Obama
One can easily argue that the 2008 presidential election was not won by ideology, policy, or get-out-the-vote efforts nearly as much as by Obama's oratory skills. Those talents were on display time and again, whether he was discussing his mixed race heritage or taking the stage in Denver to accept
his party's nomination.

2. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka
Trumka made an impassioned plea to union members to not let racism factor into their decision on who to vote for in the presidential election. While not a communicator by trade, he displayed skill in his speeches.

3. Jon Stewart
When The Daily Show host talks, people listen. Never mind that his show is supposed to be a satirical look at the world of media and politics. When Stewart took to the stage in Denver around the DNC and lectured the media on its political reporting, the media actually covered it. Now that's true talent.

4. Sheila Blair, FDIC chairman
In the wake of the year's financial meltdown, Blair took to the media to reassure consumers that their money was safe in the bank as long as it was within FDIC limits. Amid chaos, she was able to come across as a calming figure.

5. Sugule Ali, pirate spokesman
Sure, they plunder and pillage, but pirates got just a bit more refined when a group of Somali pirates who had just hijacked a Ukrainian freight ship were featured in a New York Times article with Ali as their spokesperson. This is a lesson to anyone who questions the value of media relations during a crisis.

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