Reporter Forced to Dress Like Harry Potter Jul20

Tags

Related Posts

Share This

Reporter Forced to Dress Like Harry Potter

With their former boss under arrest, tabloid reporters are beginning to reveal secrets of what it was like to work in Rebekah Brooks’ newsrooms.

Disguises, bullying, lies dropped into copy — all were part of the pressure-cooker atmosphere that prevailed, according to former journalists who spoke to The Associated Press.

Michael Taggart, who worked at The Sun in 2003, said the paper under Brooks was marked by “ruthlessness and misogyny.”

“The reporters who were prepared to subject themselves and others to the most ridicule were the ones earmarked for success,” said Taggart, who now works as a consultant for London-based MRM.

Insiders say the whatever-it-takes mantra was common across the tabloid world. But the pressure at News International — publisher of the Sun and the News of the World, the now defunct paper at the center of the phone hacking scandal — was particularly intense.

Taggart described routinely participating in overnight stakeouts while at the Sun, something he said was rare at other papers he had worked for.

He said other tabloids were just as hungry for scandal and celebrity, but they tended to rely on “great contacts, rather than covert operations.”

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.

via The Associated Press: With Brooks arrested, tabloid insiders open up.

Be Sociable, Share!