A website and framework that tracks changes in online news articles over time.
Original installation at newsdiffs.org. A product of the Knight Mozilla MIT news hackathon in June 2012. Authors: Eric Price (email@example.com), Greg Price (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Jennifer 8. Lee (email@example.com)
This is free software under the MIT/Expat license; see LICENSE. The project's source code lives at http://github.com/ecprice/newsdiffs .
You need to have installed on your local machine
- Python 2.6 or later
- Django and other Python libraries
On a Debian- or Ubuntu-based system, it may suffice (untested) to run $ sudo apt-get install git-core python-django python-django-south python-simplejson
On Mac OS, the easiest way may be to install pip: http://www.pip-installer.org/en/latest/installing.html and then $ pip install Django
$ python website/manage.py syncdb && python website/manage.py migrate $ mkdir articles
Running NewsDiffs Locally
Do the initial setup above. Then to start the webserver for testing: $ python website/manage.py runserver
and visit http://localhost:8000/
Running the scraper
Do the initial setup above. You will also need additional Python libraries; on a Debian- or Ubuntu-based system, it may suffice (untested) to run $ sudo apt-get install python-bs4 python-beautifulsoup
on a Mac, you will want something like
$ pip install beautifulsoup4 $ pip install beautifulsoup $ pip install html5lib
Note that we need two versions of BeautifulSoup, both 3.2 and 4.0; some websites are parsed correctly in only one version.
Then run $ python website/manage.py scraper
This will populate the articles repository with a list of current news articles. This is a snapshot at a single time, so the website will not yet have any changes. To get changes, wait some time (say, 3 hours) and run 'python website/manage.py scraper' again. If any of the articles have changed in the intervening time, the website should display the associated changes.
The scraper will log progress to /tmp/newsdiffs_logging (which is overwritten each run) and errors to /tmp/newsdiffs/logging_errs (which is cumulative).
To run the scraper every hour, run something like:
$ while true; do python website/manage.py scraper; sleep 60m; done
or make a cron job.
Adding new sites to the scraper
The procedure for adding new sites to the scraper is outlined in parsers/init.py . You need to
(1) Create a new parser module in parsers/ . This should be a subclass of BaseParser (in parsers/baseparser.py). Model it off the other parsers in that directory. You can test the parser with by running, e.g.,
$ python parsers/test_parser.py bbc.BBCParser
which will output a list of URLs to track, and
$ python parsers/test_parser.py bbc.BBCParser http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21649494
which will output the text that NewsDiffs would store.
(2) Add the parser to 'parsers' in parsers/init.py
This should cause the scraper to start tracking the site.
To make the source display properly on the website, you will need minor edits to two other files: website/frontend/models.py and website/frontend/views.py (to define the display name and create a tab for the source, respectively). Search for 'bbc' to find the locations to edit.