Bouncing around the internet today is a Telegraph story from 2002 that gives a truly strange glimpse into what it was like working for The News of the World.Charles Begley, the News of the World’s former Harry Potter correspondent, cracked after being forced to dress up 24/7 as Harry Potter – even on September 11, 2001. Begley recorded his conversations with senior editors at the British tabloid, and the tapes hint at the pressure-filled, bizarre world inside News International.
On one call, Begley describes the tipping point:
“On Tuesday, September 11. It was the afternoon, less than three hours after [the attacks]. I went into her [Brooks] office and Andy [Coulson, the deputy editor] was on the sofa and Rebekah was on the phone. Andy asked me where was my Harry Potter suit and I made some excuse, saying: it’s not here, it’s in the photo studio. [Actually], it was in the office, but it was hardly appropriate for a journalist to be prancing about as Harry Potter. Andy 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.”
Later, when Begley expressed displeasure at being forced to parade in costume the day after a tragedy, his editor told him (emphasis ours):
“Charles, that is what we do – we go out and destroy other people’s lives.“
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