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MLive Media Group makes pay cuts, furloughs employees amid COVID-19 pandemic

Online paper turns to reader subscriptions for support

MLive Media Group will be cutting employee wages likely through December amid coronavirus pandemic. (Pixabay)

ANN ARBOR – MLive Media Group announced on Wednesday that it will be implementing temporary pay cuts through the end of the year due to a significant loss of advertising revenue during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other cost-saving measures include eliminating 401(k) contributions and a mandatory week of unpaid leave for employees prior to July 31. In June, the company will reexamine if it will need to require employees to take an additional unpaid week off.

Employees were told this week that their base pay will be cut between two and 20 percent and those earning higher salaries will see the biggest cuts.

The temporary reductions are expected to last through December, with a reassessment of the cuts slated for September.

“These weren’t easy decisions to make and there was a lot of thought put into this,” Tim Gruber, president and chief revenue officer for MLive Media Group, said in a statement. "We strived to make these decisions with the least impact on employees as possible and look forward to coming out of this stronger and running a better business.”

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Similar to other local news outlets across the country, MLive Media Group said it has suffered a steep decline in revenue during the pandemic. MLive’s parent company, Advance Local, is implementing cost-cutting measures at its news outlets in Alabama, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Earlier this month, the owners of Detroit Free Press and other Michigan newspapers, Gannett, announced furloughs.

Formed in 2012, MLive Media Group owns MLive.com and operates newspapers in Ann Arbor, Bay City, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Muskegon and Saginaw.

In response to the temporary measures, MLive launched a subscription program last week for its online readers to support its reporting. Subscriptions are $10 a month.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.