Burda denies Full House 'chaos' claims

German publisher Burda has denied allegations of “chaos” at its flagship UK title, Full House.

Deputy editor Julie Cook, features editor Louie Purday, plus features writers Nikki Girvan and Anna Gordon have resigned in the last month, since Burda bought Essential Publishing and the latter’s MD Luke Patten took over the management of all titles.

Full House editor Carl Styants has also quit the title. He was not put on gardening leave as previously reported, and a replacement had not been put in place at the time of going to press.

Purday told Press Gazette that the title has suffered since its launch in March 2005 from “appalling distribution”, a lack of advertising investment, and from being without the proper backup of HR, PR and syndication departments at the company.

She criticised the actions of Patten for putting 15 staff on notice and the loss of the editor, which resulted in “chaos”.

“Add to that no HR department to handle the large number of disgruntled people, and you’ll see why people started to resign in droves,” she said.

Purday claimed that with fear of mass redundancies after the acquisition, staff formed an NUJ chapel, but that Patten told her “he did not recognise unions”.

Purday added: “At no point did Patten seem bothered by the content, look or distribution of the magazine as long as it ‘got out’.”

Patten said: “There is no chaos at all — actually a bit of order. The magazine schedule has not missed a beat and things have settled down really well. To attribute any kind of ‘not bothered’ sentiments regarding look, feel, distribution or staff to me or Hubert Burda Media Publishing is a complete fabrication.” He added that an announcement on new staff was imminent.

The title has recently shrunk in size, a situation that another source at the magazine said would add to distribution problems. “No-one’s going to see it if it becomes any smaller on the shelves.”

Purday is to freelance on the Your Life section of the Daily Mirror and Styants said he is currently “available for work”.

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