NEW YORK: Finsbury is providing pro bono comms support to the family of Kim Wall, a murdered Swedish journalist, as her accused killer stands trial.
Work started in October, about a month and a half after Wall disappeared while on assignment aboard a submarine called the UC3 Nautilus with its creator, Peter Madsen. Madsen is on trial for Wall’s premeditated murder, sexual assault, and indecent handling of a body, among other crimes. He has pleaded not guilty.
Finsbury has fielded media inquiries, monitored coverage, offered corrections, clarifications, and updates to reporters, and counseled on how to promote the Kim Wall Memorial Fund.
"They volunteered to help us in the beginning of October," said Ingrid Wall, Kim Wall’s mother. "We couldn’t see what really was in front of us. With their experience, this first wave of ordinary news reporting, they knew there would be another wave."
Finsbury predicted more media coverage after Danish prosecutors filed charges against Madsen in January 2018.
"So we reached out to media at that point, letting them know about the fund, that while there is this gruesome story, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, a future, an opportunity to contribute to Kim Wall’s legacy," said Ben Rosner, associate director at the WPP firm and one of the staffers working on the account. He added via email that it’s been one of his "most meaningful professional experiences."
The trial pulled the story back into the global spotlight, bringing international media attention on the family. While it could handle Swedish media, Finsbury’s reach filled a need they couldn’t meet, Wall said.
"It’s been a great relief for us," she added.
Set up by Wall’s friends and family with International Women’s Media Foundation, the fund broke through its goal of raising $200,000.
"We did know she had a lot of friends everywhere, but the magnitude of all this kindness and love we have met during these months has been incredible and helped us a lot," Wall said.
Each year, it will award one $5,000 grant to a female journalist, because Wall "would have wanted more women to be out in the world, brushing up against life," the IWMF said in a statement.
Its inaugural winner is Anne Kristine Hermann, who will use the money to fund "a book on the human consequences of Danish colonialism in Greenland, where she will be traveling this May and June," according to the organization.
The Danish Broadcasting Corporation will publish the project as a radio documentary, while investigative Danish outlet Danwatch will publish it as a multimedia feature, according to the statement.
The partnership with Finsbury was arranged by the Committee to Protect Journalists, who reached out to Finsbury U.S. CEO Paul Holmes, according to Rosner.
The CPJ, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting for press freedom and journalists’ rights worldwide, has received donations from Holmes and Finsbury in the past.
Holmes, North American managing partner Winnie Lerner, Rosner, and associate Jessica Murphy are overseeing account work.
Other scholarships and awards have been set up in Wall’s name, including the Kim Wall Memorial Scholarship from Thanks to Scandinavia, the Kim Wall Best Digital Reporting Award from the Overseas Press Club of America, and the Kim Wall Scholarship from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.