Usage of newsanchor

Lars Schulze [email protected]

2019-06-29

library(newsanchor)


This is an introductory vignette to the newsanchor package. The package connects to https://newsapi.org/. News API is a simple HTTP REST API for searching and retrieving (live) articles from all over the web. You can get breaking news headlines, and search for articles from over 30,000 news sources and blogs.
The API can generally be used for free for non-commercial use cases. However, please be aware, that this results in some restrictions. For instance, you cannot download more than 1,000 results in a given search. Please see https://newsapi.org/pricing for commercial options.

The package helps you to answer questions like the following:

The package is publicly available at GitHub and hopefully soon at CRAN as well. In this vignette we demonstrate basic features of the package. In a second vignette, we show how the package can be used to scrape your results from an example online newspaper (i.e., New York Times).

Authentication

You need an API key to access https://newsapi.org. You can apply for a key at https://newsapi.org/register/. The function below appends the key automatically to your R environment file. Hence, every time you start R, the key is loaded. The functions get_headlines, get_headlines_all, get_everything, get_everything_all, and get_sources access your key automatically by executing Sys.getenv("NEWS_API_KEY"). Alternatively, you can provide an explicit definition of your api_key with each function call.

# save the api_key in the .Renviron file
set_api_key(api_key = "YOUR API KEY", 
            path = "~/.Renviron")


Functions: get_headlines() / get_headlines_all()

These functions connect to the API’s endpoint that returns breaking news headlines for a country and category, or currently running on a single or multiple sources. This is perfect if you want to download live up-to-date news headlines and images. You can provide specific news sources, categories, countries, and/or queries. For valid searchterms see the respective paragraph below.

# get headlines published by the Washington Post
results <- get_headlines(sources = "the-washington-post")
# get headlines published in the category sports
results <- get_headlines(category = "sports")
# get headlines published in Germany
results <- get_headlines(country = "de")
# get headlines published about Trump
results <- get_headlines(query = "Trump")

Limitations


Additional settings
Regarding get_headlines(), the default of https://newsapi.org only allows to get a maximum of 100 results per request. Since some search terms might yield more results, you can use the option page to browse through your results (per default: page = 1). You can change the number of results returned per request using page_size (per default: page_size = 100).

results <- get_headlines(category = "sports", page = 2)
results <- get_headlines(category = "sports", page = 3, page_size = 20)

get_headlines_all
To automatically download all results, use get_headlines_all(). This function is build around get_headlines and provides the same options (except for page and page_size). It returns a data frame with all results.

results <- get_headlines_all(category = "sports")

Searchterms
We provide different dataframes :terms_category, terms_sources, and terms_country. They contain information on valid search terms. Access them if you are not sure whether some country or some sources will work.

terms_category
terms_country
terms_sources


Functions: get_everything() / get_everything_all()

This endpoint searches through articles from large and small news sources and blogs. This includes news as well as other kinds of normal articles. This function needs a compulsory query with each function call. You can make your search more fine-tuned using the following additional options:

# get everything published about Trump
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump")
# get everything published with the phrase "Trump says"
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump says +migrants")
# get everything published with the phrase "Trump" and "migrants" but without "Mexico"
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump +migrants -Mexico")


As stated above, you always have to provide a query with the function call. However, you can limit your results to multiple sources, different languages, or different domains. You are also able to exclude_domains or mark the start (from) or end (to) time of your search.

# get everything published about Trump
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump")
# get everything published about Trump in the Washington Post
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump", sources = "the-washington-post")
# get everything published about Trump in french
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump", languages = "fr")
# get everything published about Trump at bbc.com
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump", domains = "bbc.com")
# get everything published about Trump BUT NOT at bbc.com
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump", exclude_domains = "bbc.com")
# get everything published about Trump BUT NOT at bbc.com
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump", from = "2018-09-08")

Limitations


Additional settings
The default of https://newsapi.org only allows to get a maximum of 100 results per search. Since some search terms might yield much more results, you can use the option page to browse throught your results (per default: page = 1). You can change the number of results returned per request using page_size (per default: page_size = 100).

results <- get_everything(query = "Trump", page = 2)
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump", page = 3, page_size = 20)

In addition, you can sort (sort_by) the order of the articles. Possible options are relevancy (articles more closely related to the query come first), popularity (articles from popular sources and publishers come first) and publishedAt (newest articles come first). Per default articles are sorted by publishedAt.

# sort results by relevancy
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump", sort_by = "relevancy")
# sort results by popularity
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump", sort_by = "popularity")
# sort results by date
results <- get_everything(query = "Trump", sort_by = "publishedAt")

get_everything_all
To automatically download all results, use get_everything_all. This function is build around get_everything and provides the same options (except for page and page_size). Be aware that here, the limit of 1,000 articles kicks in if you do not have a paid plan. The function will then provide you with a dataset of these 1,000 results and stop there.

results <- get_everything_all(query = "Trump")

Searchterms
We provide several dataframes with valid search terms. You can find all dataframes below:

terms_language
terms_sources
terms_country
terms_category


Functions: get_sources

This function returns the subset of news publishers that top headlines are available from. This information is also provided in a dataframe terms_sources. However, this function also allows to return sources for specific categories or languages.

publisher <- get_sources()


Datasets / Searchterms

We provide several dataframes with possible options to use in your search for breaking headlines or news. These dataframes are provided in the data folder of the package:

terms_category
terms_country
terms_language
terms_sources


Description:

Finally, we provide a datafrme called sample response, which was mainly created for demonstrating purposes. The data set is used in the “Scrape New York Times Online Articles” vignette.