Project description

\”By the time you finish this article, 400K Americans were probably robocalled\” is an in-depth look at the epidemic of robocalls that is plaguing the phone-owning public. Through reporting and data we explain how robocalls became widespread. The interactive element of the article uses data from YouMail\’s robocall index to let readers see how many calls readers in their area code received.

What makes this project innovative?

While a lot of robocall stories have explained the problem is widespread, our project actually let the reader type in their area code get a personalized view of the problem. It's one thing to see that there were 4 billion calls in a month, it's another to see that phones with a 347 area code received an average of 31 calls a month. That bit of context helped put the reader into the story.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The robocalls article was picked up or cited by more than a dozen affiliates and other news organizations on broadcast and on the web. It was translated into Spanish for a Telemundo news outlet. More than half a million people visited the article on NBC News and Apple News.

Source and methodology

The story used robocall logs from YouMail's Robocall Index. YouMail is a voicemail service that offers call blocking features and they estimate the number of calls a given area code received in a given month. We compared YouMail’s reports of robocall frequency against its competitor RoboKiller’s robocall figures to see if the two vendors’ numbers lined up, which guided our reporting of the data.

Technologies Used

We used a node.js script to scrape the robocall numbers from YouMail. The interactive uses HTML, CSS, d3 and vanilla javascript.

Project members

Lead: Nigel Chiwaya, support: Jeremia Kimelman



Click Follow to keep up with the evolution of this project:
you will receive a notification anytime the project leader updates the project page.