Religion writer moves to Biz

The Los Angeles Times has moved Metro's religion writer, Duke Helfand, to cover health on the Business staff. Some of you will remember Helfand as a City Hall reporter for a bit, in particular as the reporter who got the very fun 2006 memo instructing Mayor Villaraigosa's aides how to service his needs in the field. Today's newsroom memo:

To: The Staff
From: John Corrigan, Business Editor

The Business section is thrilled to welcome Duke Helfand as its new healthcare reporter, covering the expected implementation of health care reform, the health insurance industry and related topics.

In his 16 years here at The Times, Duke has distinguished himself with his deeply reported, well-crafted stories. Most recently he has covered religion, chronicling the controversies surrounding gay clergy in Protestant churches, Muslims in the military and other issues. Before that, he specialized in politics and education, but his long career here - starting with City Times in South L.A. -- has also included weekend editing duties in Metro and coverage of police and local government.

Outside of work, Duke says he spends much of his free time playing catch with his "three unbelievably cute kids, who are baseball fanatics."

Please join me in welcoming Duke to the Business team.

Helfand has been getting help on the religion beat recently — most notably on the lesbian Episcopal bishop story — from former Times religion writer Larry Stammer.

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