Life in Rebekah Brooks's newsroom

Disgruntled former News of the World employees are starting to anonymously gossip about the working conditions in Rebekah Brooks's newsroom. A lot of it is what you'd expect -- bullying demands for unwavering loyalty -- but the business of the reporter with the Harry Potter beat is just beyond the pale:
At Rupert Murdoch's tabloids, refusing to play ball meant being pushed to the sidelines. One reporter who said he went through that was Charles Begley, News of the World's Harry Potter correspondent in 2001 when Brooks was its editor.

The then 29-year-old reporter said he wore a Harry Potter costume to work and officially changed his name to that of the fictional boy wizard, all part of the paper's attempt to tap into the Pottermania sweeping both sides of the Atlantic.

On Sept. 11, hours after the fall of the Twin Towers, Begley was stunned to be chewed out by News of the World management for not wearing his costume. He said he was then ordered to attend the next news meeting in full Potter regalia.

Shaken by the demand, Begley never showed up, and soon afterward parted ways with the paper.

With Brooks arrested, tabloid insiders open up (via Reddit)


    1. I wonder if Hugh Lawrie still feels that way now he’s making $400K from Fox for each episode of House…

  1. I suppose that was insensitive of them. A lot of people developed some sort of acute stress disorder that day, and in the mild hysteria that followed.

    1. It’s so much worse than an ‘acute stress disorder’ on that day.

      “Andy [Coulson] told me I should always have my Harry Potter gear around, in case of a Harry Potter emergency, and told me that the morning after, I was to dress up for conference as Harry Potter.

      “So, at that time, [when] we were working on the assumption that up to 50,000 people had been killed, I was required to parade myself around morning conference, dressed as Harry Potter.”

    1. “Why not? Charles, that is what we do – we go out and destroy other people’s lives.” – This sickens me.

  2. I know the feeling. I once worked at a daily wherein the easiest thing you did the day before could get you fired the next. This culture went from the top down, so the publisher was the meanest pole cat in the field. It was a miserable place to work. When the publisher put his Porsche up for sale in the classifieds, I set the ad and photoshopped the word “DICKWAD 1” on his back license plate as joke. Except it made it in print. As soon as I saw it, I went into his office, apologized and told him I would clean my desk out and be off the premises in ten minutes. I had only been there three weeks, so it was with great relief that I left and wasn’t turned into one of them.

  3. Three years he said that. “Good night Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

  4. Um, is this real? It sounds like it should be from the Onion. Yet there’s that whole article on the Telegraph website… Am I in the Matrix? I think my brain is breaking.

  5. (Batman TV series ‘bridge’ music cue)

    Meanwhile, across the sea in the secret operations Lab of Fox News Network….

    Best quote, imho, cited in that article:

    “There is a unit of spies that reports up to the boss about who was talking to whom. A lot of people are scared that they’re going to get sidelined or even that they’re going to get killed.”

    (Batman TV series ‘shock’ music cue)

  6. If you rearrange the letters in “Rebekah Brooks’s newsroom” it spells “Rupert Murdoch is Lord Voldemort.”

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