Scraping – getting a computer to capture information from online sources – is one of the most powerful techniques for data-savvy journalists who want to get to the story first, or find exclusives that no one else has spotted.
This two-day workshop in scraping is designed for reporters with no knowledge of scraping or programming and provides essential skills for getting original stories by compiling data across a range of online sources. By the end of the workshop, you will be able to use specialist scraping tools (without programming) and begin to write your own, more advanced, scrapers. You will also be able to communicate with programmers on relevant projects. (See below for more information and technical requirements – you must bring your own laptop).
Tuesday, 4 December: Scraping basics
10:30-11:15am Introduction: What scraping is and how news organisations are using it
11:30-12.15pm Pitching story ideas involving scraping
12:15-1pm Scraping basics: finding structure in HTML and URLs
2-3.45pm Simple scraping jobs: checking a webpage every day; identifying information using XPath
4-5pm Introduction to scraping tools: Outwit Hub
Wednesday, 5 December: Looking at what’s available
9-10am Advanced Outwit Hub: scraping multiple pages
10-10:15am What’s possible with programming: APIs, regex and loops
10:30am-12pm Scraping text that fits a pattern: regex
12-1pm Lunch1-2pm Advanced scraping options: coding, PDFs and spreadsheets
2-5pm Project surgery: your scraping challenges
Technical requirements: Delegates will be using their own laptop and should have a Google drive account, and have downloaded the free version of outwit hub ahead of the course. A GitHub account would also be useful.