This “democracy,” with its “algorithmic audience,” is worlds away from the public-journalism movement […], which envisioned a sort of journalist-mediated giant town hall, with a “deliberative audience.” It’s also vastly different from the participatory form of democracy embraced by citizen journalism outlets […], which encourage their audiences to “be the media.” To be sure, algorithmic media also require audience participation—but only in an automated, aggregated clickocracy. There’s no opportunity for algorithmic audiences to explain why they clicked, whether they’re glad they did, or whether they’d click on something similar in the future. How might algorithmic media influence public life? If algorithms come to dictate news decisions, how does that change what we read, and what sort of democracy we might have or want to have? Some media executives [say] that algorithmic journalism empowers audiences. Keep several grains of salt handy for that one! Perhaps the real power rests with journogeeks—the reporter-programmers who create the algorithms, and whose analysis of the resulting data drives news decisions down uncharted paths.
— Michael Schudson (fiiiirmesss!!) i Katherine Fink a Columbia Journalism Review.