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How A Serial Killer's 8 Murders Overshadowed 12,000 Deaths In An Environmental Disaster

Copyright TopFoto/The Image Works
Dense fog covers Trafalgar Square in London on Dec. 5, 1952.

The Great Smog was a pollution calamity that killed 12,000 people in London over five days in December 1952. At the same time, serial killer John Reginald Christie was preying on vulnerable women in the city and killed at least six.

These two seemingly disparate stories are linked by time and geography, but documentary producer and UT-Austin journalism lecturer Kate Winkler Dawson argues in her new book, Death in the Air, that they deserve collective – and comparative - attention for other reasons.

Take the death tolls: 12,000 killed by an environmental catastrophe; as many as eight killed by a serial killer. Which story do you think got more media attention?

Hear a longer conversation:

Jennifer Stayton is the local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" on KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @jenstayton.
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