"Behind Your Amazon Order" - The Wall Street Journal


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Created: 2020
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Content

"Behind Your Amazon Order" - The Wall Street Journal
Summary: "To the Judges: At 11:00 p.m on August 29, 2019, Nichole Dobo creeped into her three-year-old daughter’s room and removed a bag of magnetic toy blocks. “I twisted one like they did in the documentary and it broke easily,” she tweeted. “I threw everything away.” Ms. Dobo had just finished watching the first episode of The Wall Street Journal’s “Behind Your Amazon Order” series and learned about the unsafe toys being sold on the site—one of which had almost killed a child about the same age as hers. It’s just one example of many revelations investigated and uncovered in the docuseries that’s changed how Americans view the internet’s most popular online marketplace and shifted the national conversation around the regulation of the tech giant. Long seen as an inexpensive online store with excellent delivery, the three-part series instead revealed how hidden business structures and strategies transformed Amazon from traditional retailer to unruly digital flea market. In episode 1, “Hidden Risks,” our reporters and producers found thousands of unsafe and banned products for sale on the site, including toxic toys, sleeping mats that could suffocate infants and toys with lead content above the legal limit sold as “Amazon’s Choice. In episode 2, “Hidden Costs,” we traced clothes sold on Amazon to factories in Bangladesh blacklisted for unsafe working conditions. We spent weeks in the Bangladeshi cities of Chittagong and Dhaka talking to demoralized workers who risk their lives every day to make the garments that arrive at our doorstep in “Prime” time. In the last episode, “Hidden Garbage,” we got inside a garbage dumpster to prove claims told to us by sellers that you can sell trash on Amazon—literally. The explanatory and investigative videos had immediate and significant impact that helped keep consumers safe from risks that Amazon and regulators long ignored. As a direct result of the Journal’s reporting: - Amazon removed or modified thousands of federally banned and unsafe products, including toys with dangerous levels of lead. It removed clothing from factories in Bangladesh that had been blacklisted for unsafe labor conditions, such as workers locked inside fire-trap buildings. - Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer, announced the company would pour billions of dollars into better policing its products. - Amazon added federally required choking warning labels to listings of children’s toys. - The company published new rules for third-party sellers, requiring them to show that clothing and other products don’t come from blacklisted factories. Pushed to show transparency, Amazon also published for the first time a list of their nearly 1,500 private-label suppliers. - Amazon updated its policies to prohibit the sale of items sourced from the trash. - Members of Congress demanded the retailer better regulate its outside sellers and urged for changes to its safety practices. - The Trump administration, prompted in part by the Journal’s coverage, is considering adding some of Amazon.com Inc.’s overseas operations to its “Notorious Markets” list of marketplaces known for counterfeit goods. - New York state comptroller Tom DiNapoli, the sole trustee for the state’s $1.85 billion retirement fund, used his standing as a shareholder to call on Amazon to remove products from banned factories and explain how it enforces standards on third-party sellers. To uncover these stories, a team of producers and reporters had to navigate around a company that cultivates secrecy and shares little data. We tracked down former employees, sent products to third-party labs for safety testing, combed through a database of millions of shipping records to match them with online listings, and even opened an Amazon storefront to identify systemic safety lapses and describe how the company lost control of its platform. The result of this innovative and exceptional video storytelling is changing the way goods and services are offered and purchased online. Three senators declared Amazon “unquestionably...falling short” on safety because of our reporting. Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott introduced a bill requiring all online retailers to disclose where products are made. Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra said that the Journal’s reporting raised “real concerns about whether Amazon is profiting from widespread deception on its platform.” After publishing the episode where our producer sold a jar of discarded lemon curd from a dumpster on Amazon, Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said it was “a great example of why online marketplaces must be held accountable.” The Journal’s coverage started a national debate about the dangers of Amazon and caused legislators to begin talking about making it more responsible for what it’s selling. It is ambitious and impactful video journalism. We are proud to nominate this work for a Peabody Award."--2019 Peabody Awards entry form.

Corporate Producers: Submitted by: The Wall Street Journal. Produced by: The Wall Street Journal. Presented by: The Wall Street Journal.

Persons Appearing: Frank Matt, Denise Blostein, Alexandra Berzon, Shane Shifflett, Justin Scheck, Lisa Schwartz, Karan Deep Singh, Jon Emont, Khadeeja Safdar

Broadcast Date: 2019

Files received: 201910628nwt_1_amzsafety.mp4 | 201910628nwt_2_amzsupply.mp4 | 201910628nwt_3_amzgarbage.mp4 | 201910628nwt_judge-201910628-nwt--behind_your_amazon_order-_-_the_wall_street_journal.pdf | 201910628nwt_wsj-amzcosts_still_3.jpg | 201910628nwt_wsj-amzgarbage_still_1.jpg | 201910628nwt_wsj-behindyouramazonorder.jpg | 201910628nwt_wsj-supplementalmaterials.pdf