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gotham grabber

gotham-grabber is a set of scripts originally written to take the URL of a writer page on a site in the Gothamist/DNAinfo network and produce a collection of attractive PDFs of each article. It was created after the sites were abruptly shut down on Thursday, November 2, 2017. The former editor-in-chief of LAist, one of the sites in the Gothamist network, has written about the significance of that shutdown.

Since the project's inception, the scripts have been expanded to support author pages from the following news sites:

  • Gothamist (and other sites in the -ist network)
  • DNAinfo
  • LA Weekly
  • Newsweek

An outer Python script,, takes an author page URL as an argument with the flag --url, creates a directory in the out subfolder where it runs, and saves a list of article URLs. (If that list of URLs already exists, can take it as input, using the -t or --textfile option.) It then invokes grabber.js, a node script that drives a headless Chrome instance to capture and format articles as PDFs.

grabber.js can be invoked independently. It requires an argument with the flag --url and accepts an argument with the flag --outdir.

Each script requires installation. To install, clone this repo and run:

npm install
pip install -r requirements.txt

The scripts should then be ready to run.