1. I was extremely excited to both show some code, and cater to beginners (or try to do both, anyway) with a scraping workshop at #jiconf, geared toward journalism faculty and students. Because there's no way to affect the future better than working with those who are shaping it!
  2. I always get nervous before these things, and the expectations were mounting...
  3. Before we even started, a couple people noted the gender breakdown. Always encouraging to see #changetheratio...

  4. Part of my presentation style has always been telling the content through my personal story. I remember when I thought the "programmers" were some elite group I could never be a part of. But we're just, well, people, with our own stories, who happen to use geek power to get things done. I didn't start out as a computer scientist (although that's actually my father's career path, but not the point).
  5. So, why is scraping important? Not just because it's geeky and awesome, but because it gives you additional reporting power. A great gateway. Good bang for your buck, if you get past the intimidation of the Big Bad Code. It'll be okay.
  6. But, be ethical! A lot of websites very nicely provide a list of folders and pages they don't want search engines to crawl. And if search engines aren't crawling there, seems to me you want to be aware of that, and consider carefully what you want to be scraping. 
  7. Try it. Type the main website (****.com or whatever) then '/robots.txt'. See what happens. This page will still be here when you get back.
  8. A brief aside to note that when you tell people there will be code, we still needed to bring in oodles of folding chairs. (Also note this is a lab of Macs. Hooray! I'm not nearly as good at showing this stuff off on Windows machines.)
  9. Back to the point of the talk. We started looking at a page of UMD majors to scrape. http://www.admissions.umd.edu/academics/Majors.php 

    I made the point that before you start writing code, I suggest gathering three basic bits of information. 
  10. Funny side comments I make when I forget live tweeting is a thing. But I regret nothing. And yeah, that world is pretty awesome.
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