Journalist's Toolbox Newsletter XXXIII

Sept. 7, 2021

Scraping Social Media

The Journalist’s Toolbox started with 10 links off a supplemental page I added to a newswriting syllabus in 1996 for a class I was teaching at Northwestern University. Over the years, many of my former students have written with suggestions for the site, which I always enjoy adding.

Sophia Lackens, one of my recent University of Illinois-Chicago graduates, wrote this summer with a couple of gems she has been using:

  • PhantomBuster helps with data extraction from social media and websites. Pull lists of influencers from LinkedIn and top 10 articles to add to outreach lists, but you can also automate things like following people on Twitter or liking Instagram posts.

  • Clay is an automated, self-fulling spreadsheet that you can use to take Twitter handles or LinkedIn URLs and have it fill out people’s information into a searchable spreadsheet. Then search for keywords from bios, locations, or sort by follower account to see who you want to reach out to. The tool also has a data scraper built-in as a Chrome extension and can pull tables from websites pretty reliably.

You can find these tools and more on the Toolbox’s Social Media Scraping and Analytics page.

Journalism Books: We’ve launched a page of good journalism books and need your help. Check out the page, then suggest any titles, links to their sites and list why it’s a good journalism book on this form. We hope to build out this digital library on the Toolbox by the end of the summer, just in time for classes to start.

Around the Web

Cool Tool Tuesday

Don’t forget that at 1 p.m. CT each Tuesday, we feature a new resource on #cooltooltuesday. Be sure to check it out and retweet it. Here’s a video of some of my past faves:

In Quotes …

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

-- Thomas Jefferson


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