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Important Updates From The Appeal

After years of groundbreaking reporting and analysis, The Appeal will sunset in its current form on June 30. Staff are working to relaunch in the near future.

We are saddened to share that The Appeal will be closing on June 30. However, we are excited to support the staff who are committed to relaunching The Appeal and carrying on our important work.

Please find two statements below. The first is from The Appeal’s executive director, advisory board, and fiscal sponsor. The second is from the Appeal transition team—the staff working to relaunch the media organization.

Joint Statement of  Rob Smith, Executive Director & Founder of The Appeal, The Appeal Advisory Board, and Tides Center & Tides Advocacy

After more than three years of providing groundbreaking reporting and analysis aimed at solving the problems of discrimination, inequity and injustice in our society, we have decided to sunset The Appeal in its current form at the end of June. 

This was a difficult decision but one we believe is most consistent with our mission and values, responsibly manages our existing funding, and provides some level of stability for the people who have given so much to The Appeal.

As we have evaluated the challenging funding landscape, a fiscal restructuring, and changes in the project leadership, it became clear that The Appeal could not continue in its current form. This decision comes after extensive engagement with The Appeal Union, funders, and other stakeholders, and the consideration of various alternative pathways forward. 

Founded in 2018 as a mission-driven media organization covering the criminal legal system, The Appeal quickly grew into an influential outlet that produced rigorous reporting and analysis regularly cited by leading policymakers, journalists, scholars, and advocates. In addition to mass incarceration and policing, The Appeal’s coverage included housing and homelessness, economic stability, and other policies affecting our most vulnerable communities. We are extraordinarily proud of the work that The Appeal has produced and the impact it has had in the community. 

This is not the outcome we had planned or hoped for The Appeal. There has been an incredible amount of time, energy, talent, and resources devoted to this organization, and we are grateful to all who contributed to it. We are especially grateful to the remarkable people who have worked here and their deep commitment to The Appeal’s mission.

We support the staff who are committed to relaunching The Appeal and are hopeful about what’s to come. We are in ongoing discussions with them about their plans to carry on the work of The Appeal. Please see their statement to learn more about their next steps.


The Appeal Advisory Board members are Anne Irwin, Sophie Cull, and Zack Malitz.

Statement From The Appeal Transition Team

Today we are officially announcing the worker-led effort to relaunch The Appeal. 

The executive director of The Appeal, The Appeal Advisory Board, and our fiscal sponsor, Tides Advocacy, have decided to shut down The Appeal in its current form on June 30, despite our union’s best efforts.

But we, the workers, are not giving up on the mission that has made The Appeal a leading national voice on the harms and injustice of the U.S. criminal legal system.

On the heels of our union wins and the public’s overwhelming support of that effort, a majority of us have formed a transition team that is taking steps to ensure that we can continue our vital journalism. 

For the time being, we will be working without pay to get this up and running. To support efforts to relaunch The Appeal, please make a monthly or one-time donation here. (Donations will be made to Scalawag, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit newsroom assisting the effort to relaunch.)

We are so proud of what we have accomplished so far. Our work has challenged prevailing narratives about crime and punishment and uplifted stories and voices that traditional media so often leaves behind. We have exposed injustices, sparked protests and grassroots activism, and inspired legislation that shrinks the footprint of policing and incarceration.

This is an incredible opportunity to write a new chapter for The Appeal that builds on our successes and improves our workplace. As we move forward, we will create an Appeal where racial and gender equity are priorities, and where we all have a say in the direction of the organization. Being worker-directed will help us achieve these goals and set us apart in a challenging media landscape.

With your help, we can continue this work. 

Make a monthly or one-time donation to help us build the new Appeal.

Follow @TheAppeal and @TheAppealUnion on Twitter to receive news about future developments. 

Your support will help us realize our goal of producing journalism that shows the human costs of our expansive carceral system, equips people with the tools to make change, and elevates solutions that seek to create a safer society for everyone.


The Appeal Transition Team

For press inquiries, please contact Nick Wing at