Spencer Soper’s award-winning work on the deplorable conditions at an Amazon fulfillment center here in the Lehigh Valley has earned the Morning Call writer a nomination for journalism’s greatest honor: The Tribune Co. is nominating Soper’s Amazon exposé for a Pulitzer Prize.
I’ve talked about Spencer’s work a good deal in this space, and it’s not just because mindless abuse at the hands of the world’s largest online retailer is happening in my backyard. It’s a global story, and a globalism story. Many of the people I’ve shared it with have responded in encouraging ways, pledging to swear off Amazon not just because of the violations Soper uncovered, but because of what Amazon’s very model says about the corporate ethos. Let’s be clear: getting things to you as quickly and cheaply as Amazon does means Amazon caring as little as possible about worker rights, local economies, brick and mortar small businesses, communities, and fairness. Oh, how grand it was when these realities were only hypothetical. But the abuse here in the Lehigh Valley brings things we should have all realized long ago directly to the fore. Amazon is a machine built for speed, and if people get caught in all those moving parts, it’s fine with Amazon so long as the clean up doesn’t take too long.