Northern California Science Writers Association

NCSWA Data Scraping and Visualization Workshop

  • Saturday, September 19, 2015
  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Ed Roberts Campus, Ashby BART Station, Berkeley
  • 0


Registration is closed

Give yourself an edge in today’s world of storytelling by adding data skills to your repertoire. Publications today want data-based graphics and interactives that tell compelling tales on their own. Editors expect visual stories to enhance written ones. This workshop will teach you how to extract or "scrape" data from websites, and how to analyze, visualize and publish data quickly and easily. And all the tools presented in this workshop are free for journalists.

Data Extraction: Public websites are often treasure troves of information. In this session, you’ll learn how to use, a tool that extracts data from a website and imports it into a well-structured table in a spreadsheet. This table can then be visualized with a wide variety of visualization (mapping and charting) tools. This part of the workshop will cover which tools work for what websites, and will include a demonstration of how extracts data from popular websites as well as hands-on practice using, giving you a skillset that you can use to research stories.

Data Stories and Data Visualization: Next you’ll learn to transform a spreadsheet into a data story and various types of mobile-ready/responsive data visualizations with, a data publishing platform used by dozens of media organizations around the world. In Silk, you will build interactive maps, charts, tables and galleries from your data. This part of the workshop will start with basic data hygiene and how to clean data, followed by a demonstration of Silk. It will conclude with hands-on guided practice using Silk to build data stories and visualizations.

Examples of Silk data visualizations are available here.

You’ll leave knowing how to scrape data from the web, how to visualize data, and how to publish and share your visualizations. The tools you learn will add creativity, depth and interest to your stories, making your work more fun and more compelling — and making you more versatile and more marketable. And best of all, the tools are free.


Wilson Hsieh is a user success analyst at Wilson brings to his passion for and belief in the future of the structured web. He believes strongly in helping data users and data providers transact more efficiently. As part of the team, Wilson works with enterprise users to find innovative and create uses for data. Prior to working at, Wilson worked with data for Fidelity Investments.

Alex Salkever is head of marketing and data journalism evangelism at He was an award-winning freelancer and reporter for 10 years, including five as Technology Editor of covering Silicon Valley and technology. He has trained hundreds of journalists and students to use Silk for data analysis, data visualization and data publishing, and his own data visualizations and data stories have appeared in numerous online publications.

PREPARATION: Before the workshop, please:

All accounts are free.

DATE: Saturday September 19, 2015.

LOCATION: The workshop will be at the Ed Roberts Campus at the Ashby BART Station in South Berkeley. The address is 3075 Adeline St., Berkeley, and we will meet in the Koret Foundation Board Room.


8:30 am - 9:00 am: Registration

9:00 am - noon: Workshop


Coffee, tea, fruit and pastries during registration.

COST: $28

REGISTRATION: This workshop is limited to 20, offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. The deadline for registration is September 4, 2015, at midnight.

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