Why The Local chose to report the Kim Wall case the way we did

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Why The Local chose to report the Kim Wall case the way we did
File photo: Jens Dige/Polfoto/Ritzau

The shocking and tragic death of journalist Kim Wall has received intense media coverage, including by The Local. Here's why we chose to cover the story how we did.


When it first appeared in the media on August 11th, the Danish submarine story had the characteristics of a mystery – an eccentric inventor who had got lost in his homemade submarine.

It quickly became clear that this was a far more serious and disturbing incident than initially thought.

Starting with the rescue of Peter Madsen from Køge Bay, then the realization that Swedish journalist Kim Wall was missing, and finally the confirmation of her death and Madsen's implication in it, many missing details gradually emerged in one of the most unpleasant – though still incomplete – crime stories Denmark has seen in recent times.

The Local has, at the time of writing, published 27 articles on the case, with four of our journalists as well as agencies contributing. That is clearly more coverage than we would normally give a one-off crime story. Given the sad and shocking nature of this case, we want to be open about the way we have chosen to report what happened.

Over the last three months, new information on the case has emerged in fragments, often clustered into short spells of a few days as the police investigation progressed.

Two court hearings to extend Peter Madsen's detainment, which were conducted publicly, also contributed to news updates covered by this and many other media outlets.

We have sought to publish new information as and when it emerged, representing confirmed facts without glamourizing or sensationalizing the crime. We have not published anything we consider to be speculative.

The nature of the way information has emerged has meant that we have reported on the case frequently, something a number of readers have commented on in feedback and through social media.

We believe it's important to make sure crimes, criminals and court cases aren't hidden from the public eye – not reporting on them at all is also disrespectful to victims.

With Madsen's trial scheduled to begin in March next year, our future reporting of the story will focus on aspects of the police investigation relevant to the court case, should any emerge between now and the beginning of the trial.

Kim Wall was, by many accounts, an example the profession of journalism can look up to. The Kim Wall Memorial Fund was established after her death by family and friends to honour and highlight her legacy and support the International Women's Media Foundation.

We have tried to make our coverage of her sad loss as professional as we can.


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