Who We Are
The Appeal’s mission is to produce reporting and analysis that public officials, journalists, advocates, and scholars use to solve the problems that keep everyday people up at night. The more we fulfill our mission the closer we come to fulfilling our vision: an America where stability and dignity are within everyone’s reach.
We tell stories about the barriers that stand in the way of that vision—and the solutions needed to get there—through original reporting, commentary, explainers, live shows and events, white papers and other reports, newsletters, and podcasts. The Appeal elevates under-covered local stories of national relevance and connects the dots to similar developments in other jurisdictions. We focus relentlessly on the stories, policy ideas, and emerging patterns across geographies and levels of government, including federal developments. We identify trends that might otherwise be missing from existing news coverage.
We work to get that coverage in front of decision-makers and opinion leaders who can use it to make a difference, and we cover subsequent movement on these issues, building momentum for change. We define our success in how public officials, advocates, academics, and other journalists meaningfully engage with our work.
Meet the Team
Audience Engagement Team
How We Measure Success
Our metrics for success flow from our theory of change: We tell stories repeatedly and through different lenses (for example: white papers and reports, polling memos, reporting and commentary, streaming and produced video), repackage them, and put them in the hands of the people who are best positioned to use them to create change. This increases the salience and centrality of these issues for our core audience of public officials, journalists, advocates, and academics, which, in turn, shapes how those leaders make decisions.
To gauge progress, we use citations as a proxy for how often our work is used by our core audience. A citation could be a reference in a New York Times article or editorial or a Politico Playbook newsletter. It could be a U.S. Senator who thoughtfully analyzes our work in a social media post. It could be a reference in newly enacted legislation or policy. Or it could be a citation in a Governor’s press release or a Color of Change petition. But surface level engagement such as a like, a retweet, or a share does not count.
We focus especially on tracking citations within coverage bursts, which reflect the traction of our storytelling on an issue told through multiple lenses such as reporting, commentary, analysis, polling, and live video segments. Here’s a recent case study on the policing crisis, for example. We know that only a handful of the projects we choose each year will gain the kind of traction that we’d put into a case study, but we focus almost exclusively on topics that we think have the potential to result in something we’d include as a case study, meaning that it can be told through our various lenses, be told repetitively, and result in meaningful political or policy change.
To gauge this progress, we focus on both production metrics and impact metrics. In an effort to promote transparency and hold ourselves accountable, we will post our 2021 objectives and key results soon.
Our production metrics are set at the overall organization level, by vertical, and by staff member.
Our impact metrics are divided into three categories: Overall audience; core audience; and coverage bursts.
- Overall audience: This measures the total number of views on our website and of our video products, and our social media following.
- Core Audience: We track how often our work is cited in the media, meaningfully engaged with by key academics, advocates, electeds, and reporters, and referenced or incorporated into legislation and policy.
- Coverage Bursts: We strive for coverage bursts, which reflect the traction of our storytelling on an issue told through multiple mediums such as reporting, commentary, analysis, polling, and live video segments.
How We Work
OUR PITCH PROCESS
A foundational aspect of how we do our work at The Appeal is to tell stories and ideas through different lenses (e.g. reporting, commentary, a white paper, a produced video), which requires highly coordinated, rapid productivity across verticals. To create this disciplined alignment in a fast changing environment we rely on a centralized decision-making process. However, to ensure that we are getting the best ideas and angles, we are a high context and extremely high feedback organization. Please see our pitch form, which details what we look for in pitches.
We set our mission and vision and our annual goals each year, and we solicit donations that support our work. While we accept financial support for coverage of particular topics, we retain full editorial control of the coverage. We do not accept donations from political parties, elected officials, candidates actively seeking public office or groups trying to elect candidates. If, in our coverage, we mention an organization that has donated to us, we will disclose it.
The Appeal is a fiscally sponsored project of Tides Advocacy, a social welfare organization exempt from taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Tides Advocacy provides operational support, including payroll, benefits, and human resources assistance. The Appeal shares staff and resources with The Appeal Media, a fiscally sponsored project of Tides Center, a nonprofit organization exempt from taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Neither Tides Advocacy nor Tides Center plays a role in our editorial process.
Here are our supporters:
$1,000,000 AND OVER:
- Open Philanthropy
- Meadow Fund
- Ballmer Group
- Chan Zuckerberg
$500,000 AND OVER:
- Schusterman Foundation
- Vanguard Charitable
$250,000 AND OVER:
- Vital Projects
- Galaxy Gives
$100,000 AND OVER:
- Barton Family Fund
- MacArthur Foundation
- Mountain Philanthropy
- Solidarity Giving
$50,000 AND OVER:
- Bank of America
$10,000 AND OVER:
- Robert and Maurine Rothschild Fund