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Who Was Kim Wall, The International Journalist Who Met A Grisly End On A Private Submarine?

Kim Wall loved being a journalist, her peers said, before she was murdered while working on a writing assignment at sea.

Kim Wall G

“Undercurrent: The Disappearance of Kim Wall,” a new HBO two-part documentary chronicles the 2017 murder of Kim Wall, killed while reporting a story about a Danish inventor's submarine. 

Director Erin Lee Carr recently tweeted that her documentary is not “just about the trial, it's about Kim, her work and what was stolen from the world on that day August 10th, 2017.”

That day, Wall climbed aboard the submarine that had been built by eccentric entrepreneur and inventor Peter Madsen. The trip was supposed to last only a few hours, and when she didn't return that evening, Wall's boyfriend reported her missing. The submarine was reported lost at sea and when it finally surfaced, only Madsen came back to shore. After changing his stories multiple times about what happened to Wall, he was convicted one year later for her murder and sentenced to life behind bars. 

The new documentary includes texts between Wall and her boyfriend; she was clearly excited about the writing assignment as she was with so many others.

The Swedish independent journalist had written for publications including Harpers, The Guardian, the New York Times, TIME, Vice, and The Atlantic. 

She wrote about gender identity, pop culture, social justice, and foreign policy. In 2013, she reported from post-war Sri Lanka as a South Asian Journalist Association grantee. She was also a United Nations Foundation press fellow in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, she researched Cuba’s tech scene while working as a grantee with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis reporting. 

“You want to tell stories that will make people’s lives richer and better and easier and bring the truth of what’s going on and to me that was the epitome of Kim Wall,” Sandy Padwe, Kim's former professor at Columbia Journalism School says in the documentary.

He said she was committed to “doing journalism” and “doing it well.”

Amongst her accomplishments, she investigated a leaking nuclear waste site out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for The Guardian in 2015.

Tim McDonnell, a journalist and friend of Wall, noted in the doc that “she was very tenacious.”

“She clearly has no patience for bulls--t, she kind of has a healthy dose of skepticism,” McDonnell said.

Wall's photographs, taken from all over the world during her reporting, are still up on her Instagram.

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