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