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CBS Stations’ Local News Innovation Lab Hires Four Investigative Journalists

CBS News and Stations has hired the first four investigative journalists for its local news innovation lab in Dallas-Fort Worth. Stephen Stock has been named national investigative correspondent, Nicole Vap was named executive producer of content development, Chris Hacker will be investigative data journalist, and Aparna Zalani is investigative producer.

Stephen Stock, new hire at CBS News and Stations local news innovation lab

Stephen Stock (Image credit: CBS News and Stations )

The lab was announced in January. Chad Cross, VP of content development, CBS Stations, leads the team in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“We are excited to assemble a team with such passion, experience and dedication to solutions-oriented reporting that effects change and drives impact,” said Adrienne Roark, president of CBS Stations. “Stephen, Nicole, Chris and Aparna will be given the time and resources to look beyond the short-term news agenda. They will dig deeper to bring to light stories that haven’t been told, and to provide a voice to members of the communities we serve who are often overlooked. As members of Chad’s team, they will leverage data and technology to present next-gen storytelling for multiplatform distribution across all of our markets and collaborate with our colleagues at CBS News on stories of national interest.”

The new hires will report to Cross. 

“We are pleased to establish the foundation of our innovation lab by bringing on board these four investigators who possess track records of exceptional reporting that enlightens and improves local communities,” Cross said. “We look forward to having Stephen and Nicole draw on their many years of experience, and we are excited to promote from inside our stations Chris and Aparna as team members who will help us find new ways to unearth stories.”

Stock, who has been an investigative reporter at WFOR Miami, WESH Orlando and KNTV San Francisco, will serve in a dual role at the innovation lab. He will provide in-depth reporting on critical issues while also mentoring his fellow investigative journalists across the CBS Stations group.

“The leaders of CBS News and Stations possess a vision and energy to build something groundbreaking. I am excited and honored to have this opportunity to return to CBS and be part of a team that shines a light into the darkness on a national scale,” Stock said.

Nicole Vap, new hire at CBS News and Stations' local news innovation lab

Nicole Vap (Image credit: CBS News and Stations)

Vap, who comes from KUSA Denver, will be responsible for managing premium content created by the innovation lab’s investigative team as well as journalists in its consumer, environmental and community impact units. She will also facilitate collaborations between the lab and journalists across the CBS News and Stations organization. 

“Working with the incredible journalists across CBS News and Stations means we have a real opportunity to make a huge difference, showing how much we all have in common, and how much stronger we can be through a deeper understanding of the issues that affect all of us everywhere,” Vap said. “I am looking forward to helping this team lead that conversation, and showing the impact of empowered, creative local journalists across the country.”

Hacker has been part of the investigative team at WBBM Chicago. 

Zalani has spent eight years at KTVT Dallas-Fort Worth, the lab’s base. 

CBS News and Stations will announce additional innovation lab members this summer. ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.