IWMF Heartbroken Over Death of Journalist Kim Wall

[WASHINGTON, DC, 8/21/17]: The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is deeply saddened to receive confirmation that Swedish journalist Kim Wall, a beloved member of the IWMF community, has died.

“Kim Wall was a dedicated journalist, and loved by our network of staff and global journalists who worked closely with her. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kim’s family, friends and colleagues during this heart-wrenching time,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, executive director of the IWMF. “She was dogged in her pursuit of important and sometimes quirky stories. She was adored by those who knew her.” Wall was only 30-years-old.

Wall was last seen atop the Nautilus submarine on August 10, about to embark on a brief ride in the vessel for a profile about its Danish inventor, Peter Madsen. When the submarine mysteriously sank later that day, Madsen claimed to have dropped her off alive on an island, even though he was immediately held on manslaughter charges. Today, Madsen acknowledged she died on board his submarine due to an “accident,” and that he buried her at sea.

Born in Sweden, Kim Wall was a freelance journalist. She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and the London School of Economics. In 2013, she graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. She lived in New York and Beijing, and wrote for numerous publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, the South China Morning Post and Vice Magazine.

“What anyone who met her for even a short time knows that her exuberance is (I can’t bring myself to write in the past tense) contagious,” wrote IWMF Fellow Valerie Hopkins, who attended graduate school with Kim Wall at Columbia University. “In the four years since we graduated, I have followed her work and marveled and how she was able to write stories from so many countries – from an in-depth look at voodoo in Haiti, to tourism in North Korea, to Idi Amin’s legacy in Uganda. It shocks me that it was in Denmark, and not in any of those other places, that she met her end.”

In January and February 2016, Kim Wall was an IWMF African Great Lakes Reporting fellow, traveling to Uganda with the organization to capture underreported stories. Her friend Sruthi Gottipati, another IWMF Uganda fellow, wrote in the Guardian, “After traveling and reporting in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, it was in her native Scandinavia, a supposed bastion of gender parity, in which Kim has disappeared. It’s a chilling reminder that women’s safety can’t be shrugged off as a problem specific to developing countries, as if the west is immune to misogyny.”

Kim also received a grant through the IWMF’s Reporting Grants for Women’s Stories. Through these programs, she wrote cutting-edge articles about topics including Chinese investment in Africa and women’s roles in post-conflict Sri Lanka. Her reporting about the Nautilus and Madsen was not funded by the IWMF.

About the IWMF
Since 1990, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has worked to unleash the potential of women journalists as champions of press freedom to transform the global news media. We seek to ensure that women journalists worldwide are fully supported, protected, recognized and rewarded for their vital contributions at all levels of the news media. As a result, consumers will increase their demand for news with a diversity of voices, stories and perspectives as a cornerstone of democracy and free expression. Through our programs and grants, we empower women journalists with the training, opportunities, and support to become leaders in the news industry.