The Seattle Times has now completed publication of a four-part series on the mammoth local company we all probably know least about — at least in terms of what’s on the inside. “Behind the Smile” is a wide-ranging series that explores Amazon.com’s (AMZN) business practices and local worth, in terms of both economic impact (sizable) and community involvement (nil and arguably stingy).
Amazon.com has doubled down on a downtown Seattle presence and now employs an estimated 9,000 people there, with more to come. That’s a lot of workers in one neighborhood, even an urban one. It’s a company literally in the newspaper’s backyard. Amazon’s cluster of new office buildings is just a few blocks from The Seattle Times in South Lake Union.
Now that the neighbors are settled in, a series of uncomfortable questions are posed. Noteworthy in the Internet age it helped define, Amazon has decided to apply the dubious P.R. strategy of saying next to nothing about itself in response to repeated Times requests for comment and interviews.
Here’s the Times’ own outline of the series: