CBS Stations Looks to Reinvent and Expand Local News

By Kevin Eck 

CBS Stations said it’s creating an innovation lab to find new ways to cover local news and said it plans to add newscasts to its CW and MyNetwork affiliates.

The innovation lab will be based at KTVT-KTXA in Dallas-Fort Worth and 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.”

CBS has picked Chad Cross to serve as senior leader at the lab in the newly created role of vice president of Content Development for CBS Stations. Cross will report to CBS Stations president Adrienne Roark.

Wendy McMahon, president and co-head of CBS News and Stations, said that on the heels of bringing news back to WWJ in Detroit, the station group is excited to “aggressively pursue new and exciting concepts in the new year.”

“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,” said McMahon.

In addition to working directly with CBS Stations’ local newsrooms across the country, Cross will build a team of journalists to develop what the station group is calling “new and unique franchises that will investigate topical issues that connect with local and national audiences.”

In addition to the innovation lab, CBS has named Andrea Parquet-Taylor vp and news director of CW and Independent Stations. Parquet-Taylor comes from KCBS-KCAL where she has been the vp and news director since December 2020.

Parquet-Taylor will report to CBS Stations president Tom Canedo and will be responsible for overseeing the launch and production of hybrid, local-to-national multi-platform newscasts for several of the group’s CW, independent and MyNetwork TV-affiliated stations.

CBS plans to launch the newscasts in 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).

The station group said it will begin hiring additional employees both in Dallas-Fort Worth and at local stations to support the initiatives—and said specific job description information will be released in the near future.

Cross has been the news director at KXAN in Austin since 2012.

“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.”

Before joining KCBS-KCAL as vp and news director, Parquet-Taylor spent almost four years at KTVT-KTXA. She initially served as the Dallas-Fort Worth duopoly’s vp and news director and was later promoted to vp and station manager.

Parquet-Taylor will continue to serve as news director at KCBS-KCAL until a successor has been hired.

“Andrea is one of the most accomplished and respected news directors at CBS Stations,” said Canedo. “Her many years of experience as a newsroom leader at stations across the country, her creative instincts and her collaborative spirit will undoubtedly serve her and all of her colleagues extremely well as she takes on her new responsibilities.”

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