Now batting on the Disney beat

The Times is throwing Pulitzers at the Disney company beat in the Business section, hiring two-time winner (and ex-Register reporter) Kim Christensen. Most recently he has been an associate managing director of the investigations firm Kroll Associates. Richard Verrier, the current Disney writer, "is ready for a change" and will assume new responsibilities in the entertainment pod, says the memo (which follows):

To: The Staff
From: Russ Stanton, Business Editor
, Joel Sappell, Deputy Business Editor/Entertainment

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Kim Christensen is joining the entertainment team in Business to cover the Walt Disney Co.

Kim is a gifted reporter and writer whose breadth of experience will serve him well as he enters the competitive world of entertainment industry coverage. Kim has earned a reputation as an unflappable colleague with an impeccable radar for good stories and the skills to land them in print. He is a perfect fit to cover Disney, Southern California's most important entertainment conglomerate, as it enters a new era under new Chief Executive Robert Iger.

While working at the Portland Oregonian in 2001, Kim was part of a four-reporter team that was awarded the Pulitzer gold medal for Public Service for a series of stories documenting widespread abuses by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in its treatment of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.

At the Orange County Register, Kim was one of the lead reporters on a series that won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for exposing egg theft, fraud and administrative cover-ups at UC Irvine's renowned fertility clinic. The series led to criminal charges against three UCI doctors and regulatory reform of the fertility industry.

Kim has reported a variety of other breaking news and enterprise stories, ranging from Medicare billing fraud to aviation safety, police shootings, high death rates among Native American children in Central Oregon and deadly medical care in the nation's largest women's prison.

Since September 2004, Kim has been an associate managing director of the international investigative firm Kroll Associates, based in Los Angeles. He has a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, where he began his career at his hometown newspaper, the Dayton Daily News. Kim lives in Long Beach with his wife, Chris, also a career journalist.

He will start at The Times in mid-June and will report to Joel Sappell. Our current Disney reporter, Richard Verrier, has done an outstanding job over the past four years chronicling the company's upheaval, producing many memorable dailies and enterprise pieces. But Richard is ready for a change. Although he will continue to cover aspects of Disney, he will assume new responsibilities in areas we consider essential in strengthening our overall coverage of Hollywood.

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