CBS Stations today announced plans to create a local news innovation lab that will be based at KTVT and independent sister station KTXA, the ViacomCBS-owned stations in Dallas-Fort Worth. 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. The announcement was made by Wendy McMahon, president and co-head, CBS News and Stations.
Award-winning local news executive Chad Cross will serve as a senior leader at the lab as vice president, content development, CBS Stations. In this newly created role, Cross 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.
He 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.
The unit overseen by Cross will develop new and unique franchises that will investigate topical issues that connect with local and national audiences.
Veteran CBS Stations executive Andrea Parquet-Taylor will move from her current role as vice president and news director at KCBS-KCAL, the ViacomCBS-owned duopoly in Los Angeles, to Dallas-Fort Worth and lead the first initiative that will be developed at the lab.
As vice president, CW and independent stations news director, Parquet-Taylor will report to CBS Stations President Tom Canedo and 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. The markets served will include 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). 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.
CBS Stations will be supporting Cross and Parquet-Taylor’s teams by hiring additional employees both in Dallas-Fort Worth and at local stations. Specific job description information will be released in the near future.
“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,” McMahon 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.”
McMahon 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 is joining CBS Stations after having served as the news director at KXAN, the NBC affiliate 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.
“We are thrilled to have someone with Chad’s credentials joining us as we establish the foundation of our innovation lab,” Roark said. “Chad and our team of local journalists will serve an invaluable role for our stations. They will look beyond the short-term news agenda and dig deeper to investigate and bring to light stories that haven’t been told, and provide a voice to members of the communities we serve that are often overlooked. Chad’s unit will also leverage data and technology to find new ways to present solution-oriented reporting that affects change and drives impact.”
Cross said: “I am excited to join CBS Stations and have this significant opportunity to help create premium investigative news reporting and synergy across the recently combined CBS News and Stations organization. I feel fortunate to be pursuing my lifelong passion, which is a journey that began at what is now the ViacomCBS-owned station in Denver (KCNC). I toured the station during a fourth-grade field trip and decided that day I was going to work in local news.”
Parquet-Taylor has been a member of CBS Stations since February 2017. Before assuming her current role as VP-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 VP and station manager in June 2018.
Prior to joining CBS Stations, Parquet-Taylor was the news director at WNCN Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; WXYZ Detroit; WRAL and WRAZ Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and WMAR Baltimore.
Parquet-Taylor will continue to serve as news director at KCBS-KCAL until a successor has been hired.