CBS Stations is creating what it calls a local news innovation lab. Based at KTVT-KTXA Dallas-Fort Worth, the lab will be the base for a team of CBS News and Stations employees that will be asked “to experiment with next-generation storytelling, including data journalism, and also test new products, workflows and production models for the future,” according to CBS Stations.
Chad Cross joins CBS Stations from KXAN Austin as VP, content development, and will lead the team. He will report to Adrienne Roark, CBS Stations president. He’ll work with local newsrooms, collaborate with news, investigative and special projects teams, and lead the team tasked with producing what CBS Stations calls “next-generation storytelling.”
New hires will be made for the lab. New content franchises will be featured in the department.
Andrea Parquet-Taylor will transition from VP/news director at KCBS-KCAL Los Angeles to Dallas-Fort Worth and will lead the first initiative to be developed at the lab. She will be VP, CW and Independent Stations news director and will report to Tom Canedo, CBS Stations president. She will oversee the launch and production of hybrid, local-to-national multiplatform newscasts for several of the CBS-owned CW, independent and MyNetworkTV-affiliated stations. She’ll oversee content for WLNY New York, WPSG Philadelphia, KTXA Dallas, KBCW San Francisco, WUPA Atlanta, WSBK Boston, KSTW Seattle, WTOG Tampa, WKBD Detroit and WBFS Miami.
Programs at these stations will include both content produced by journalists in each market, and content produced at the lab.
“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,” said Wendy McMahon, president and co-head CBS News and Stations. “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.”
“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,” she added. “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 being KXAN Austin news director for the past decade. KXAN is part of Nexstar.
“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 also 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.”
McMahon noted Cross’s background in overseeing data journalism and investigative projects.
“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,” Cross said. “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 part of CBS Stations since 2017. Before her time in Los Angeles, she spent almost four years at KTVT-KTXA, where she was VP/news director and then VP/station manager. She has also worked at WNCN Raleigh-Durham and WXYZ Detroit, among other stations.
“Andrea is one of the most accomplished and respected news directors at CBS Stations,” Canedo said. “Her many years of experience as a newsroom leader at stations across the country, creative instincts and collaborative spirit will undoubtedly serve her and all of her colleagues extremely well as she takes on her new responsibilities.”
Parquet-Taylor will continue to be KCBS-KCAL news director until a successor has been hired. McMahon said she will focus on experimenting with “new production models for news and information.”
“It’s an honor to continue my journey as a member of the CBS Stations family by getting this opportunity to return to Dallas-Fort Worth and work on an everyday basis with colleagues in 10 different markets to do something new and quite exciting,” Parquet-Taylor said. “It has been a pleasure to have spent the past 13 months with our team in Los Angeles. I am so proud of what we have accomplished, especially considering all of the challenges we have faced during the pandemic. Before leaving Los Angeles, I plan to take my facemask off long enough for my colleagues and friends to see the smile that’s been on my face since the day I arrived and feel the gratitude I have for all of them.”
McMahon described the innovation lab as a way to rethink and rebuild local content. “It’s been well-documented that our audiences are in a state of evolution and our business is as well,” McMahon told B+C. “The innovation lab is created in the spirit of embracing that change.” ■
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