CBS Stations is launching a local news innovation lab with a focus on “next-generation storytelling” out of two ViacomCBS-owned stations in Dallas-Fort Worth, Tex.
Based at KTVT-TV and independent sister station KTXA-TV, “The lab will serve as the home of a curated team of CBS News and Stations employees including several new hires, who will be empowered to experiment with next-generation storytelling, such as data journalism, and test new products, workflows and production models for the future.”
Award-winning local news executive Chad Cross (pictured above right) will serve as a senior leader at the lab as vice president, content development, CBS Stations. Andrea Parquet-Taylor (pictured above left) will transition from her current role as vice president and news director at ViacomCBS’s KCBS-TV and independent sister station KCAL-TV in Los Angeles to lead the first initiative that will be developed at the lab in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Cross will be responsible for working directly with CBS Stations’ local newsrooms across the country, collaborating with the existing news, investigative and special projects teams, while also building and leading a team of journalists who will support original, next-generation storytelling across CBS News and Stations’ platforms, per CBS Stations. Cross’ unit will “develop new and unique franchises that will investigate topical issues that connect with local and national audiences.”
He will report to CBS Stations president Adrienne Roark and work closely with colleagues both at CBS News and CBS Stations to facilitate storytelling across the entire organization.
As vice president, CW and independent stations news director, Parquet-Taylor will be responsible for overseeing the launch and production of hybrid, local-to-national multiplatform newscasts for several of the company’s CW, independent and MyNetwork TV-affiliated stations, with markets including New York (WLNY), Philadelphia (WPSG), Dallas-Fort Worth (KTXA), San Francisco (KBCW), Atlanta (WUPA), Boston (WSBK), Seattle (KSTW), Tampa (WTOG), Detroit (WKBD) and Miami (WBFS). Per CBS Stations, “These programs will include both hyper-local content that will be produced by multi-skilled journalists on the ground in each market, as well as content produced by team members at KTVT and the lab.”
Parquet-Taylor will report to CBS Stations President Tom Canedo.
CBS Stations plan to hire additional employees both in Dallas-Fort Worth and at local stations to support Parquet-Taylor and Cross’s teams, with specific job description information to be released in the near future.
News of the Texas-based innovation lab plans come less than a month after CBS Stations announced that 20 years after eliminating its news presence, WWJ (Channel 62, branded as “CBS 62”) will launch a news department in 2022, as part of an ambitious plan to create a “CBS News Detroit” hub.
“Following up on the recent announcement of our plans to create from scratch the newsroom of the future for WWJ-TV in Detroit, we are excited to continue to aggressively pursue new and exciting concepts in the new year through the creation of our local news innovation lab,” Wendy McMahon, president and co-head CBS News and Stations, said. “We are putting significant resources and investments behind this commitment to be on the leading edge of innovation, as we continue to reimagine how CBS Stations will serve our audiences across all of our markets and all of our CBS News and Stations platforms in the months and years to come.”
She added: “Adrienne, Tom and Raquel Amparo (CBS Dallas-Fort Worth president and general manager) have done a terrific job of conceptualizing and bringing our innovation lab to life. And we are excited to both welcome Chad to our team and promote Andrea to serve more markets in a news leadership role.”
Cross joins CBS Stations after having served as the news director at KXAN-TV, the NBC-affiliated station in Austin, since 2012. While at KXAN, Cross and his colleagues have established a nationally recognized investigative team that has received national Edward R. Murrow Awards, Walter Cronkite Awards, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award and National Headliners Awards.
Parquet-Taylor has been a member of the CBS Stations family since February 2017. Before assuming her current role as vice president and news director at KCBS and KCAL in December 2020, she spent almost four years at KTVT and KTXA. She initially served as the Dallas-Fort Worth duopoly’s vice president and news director and then was promoted to vice president and station manager in June 2018.
Prior to joining CBS Stations, Parquet-Taylor served as the news director at WNCN-TV, the CBS affiliate in Raleigh-Durham; WXYZ-TV in Detroit; WRAL-TV and WRAZ-TV in Raleigh-Durham and WMAR-TV in Baltimore.
She will continue to serve as the news director at KCBS-KCAL until a successor has been hired.