Read on for the latest instalment of PRWeek's countdown of the UK's best communicators of 2021, compiled by the editorial team. PR professionals are excluded – our focus is individuals from other walks of life, whether that's politics, entertainment, business or something else.
The list is, of course, entirely subjective, but we hope it contains a few surprises and plenty to think about. The remainder will be published in the days ahead, so stay tuned…
3. Jo Whiley, DJ and broadcaster
One test of a good communicator is whether their comms actually manage to change things. Sometimes this can be difficult to measure; but with Jo Whiley, her impact is clear-cut.
Cast your mind back to February this year, when the vaccine rollout was dominating the news. The radio DJ and presenter made headlines when she questioned why she had been invited to receive the vaccine before her sister, Frances, who is two years younger than her but has the rare Cri du Chat genetic syndrome.
"I would give up my vaccine in a heartbeat, if I could, for my sister and any of the residents in her house to have their vaccine… it does not feel right," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"This happens so often – people with learning disabilities are neglected, they haven't got a voice."
- Read: Communicators of the year 2021 (numbers 20-16)
- Read: Communications of the year 2021 (numbers 15-11)
- Read: Communicators of the Year 2021 (numbers 10-6)
- Read: Communicators of the Year 2021 (number 5)
- Read: Communicators of the Year 2021 (number 4)
Within days, the government acted. All people in England on the GP learning disability register were invited for a vaccine after they were added to the 'Group 6' priority list. Previously only people with severe learning disabilities were included.
‘This is a great day’ - @jowhiley reacts to news that ALL those with a learning disability who are on the GP Learning Disability Register will get the covid jab as a priority (until now it was only those with severe learning disabilities). Jo’s sister will now get her jab pic.twitter.com/GZowdNvCVk— Victoria Derbyshire (@vicderbyshire) February 24, 2021
As we wrote at the time, the episode demonstrates the power of personal experience, which can be the difference between success and failure in campaigning – what better example than Marcus Rashford's work on meals for children?
Like Rashford, Whiley succeeded because her campaign had a specific, achievable aim, expressed clearly and without malice or a sense of a political axe to grind. Her experience of the issue gave it extra weight – and enough of a news hook to turn a personal situation into a very public, and ultimately very successful, campaign.