After spending about five hours learning how to scrape a web page for data using Python, I had a small epiphany. First I thought: “Man, I’m so glad I’m working through how to do this, so I can boil it down to the essentials for my students.”
My next thought: “There’s something wrong with that idea.”
I’ve been teaching journalism students how to make things that work online for more than 10 years, so I’ve spent some time figuring out ways to introduce them to industry best practices for programming, animation, and web design. Most journalism students are not very eager to learn those things. And why not?
Most of them chose journalism because they like to write. Anything that involves HTML, CSS, code, or programming makes many of them almost shut down, shrink away, move toward the door. We have all kinds of challenges in journalism education, but this one is front and center, right now. It’s not just students’ avoidance of things perceived to be somehow math-related. It’s also:
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