Hello, Columbus

Kristy Eckert

There he sits, on her desk-his face dirty, his expression bewildered. Kristyn Hartman has toted the book featuring a photo of her father fighting in Vietnam from city to city, newsroom to newsroom, as she's traveled the country working her way up the TV ranks. It's a reminder, she says, that no matter how stressful her day may be, it's nothing compared to what he endured.

It's also a telling tidbit about WBNS 10TV's new anchor: She's not just a pretty face. The Chicago native, 42, graduated from Northwestern University's prestigious journalism school and worked her way through four states before landing back in the Windy City. She met and has been with her husband Chris, a systems consultant, since their first day of classes at Northwestern when he asked her if she wanted to study German together. She's close to her parents, who watch her nightly newscasts (thank you, live web stream!). She rescued her first dog after finding him while covering a story in the Grand Canyon, and, after he passed, chose her second-a Pointer Lab named Roxy-from a no-kill shelter.

And now that she's in Columbus, she's ready to get involved. "I really believe that TV stations have a responsibility to serve the same people they serve on the news in a way that makes the community a better place to live," Hartman says. At the top of her list? Building a Habitat for Humanity home and helping pediatric cancer patients.

Longtime Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis already is impressed. Hartman visited him and several others in Mount Vernon her first week in town, as she traveled from community to community to learn about Central Ohio. "I don't think I've ever had a visit from a leading reporter, so it was a treat," Mavis says. "She appeared to me to be someone who is saying, 'I'm coming to Columbus, I'm going to be in your living room every night, and I want to know what's going on in your community.' "

How she plays

Travel: Italy is her favorite place to visit, but Paris isn't bad, either. "And I like off-the-beaten-path-in-America small towns. I would love to do that Route 66 drive."

Baking: She makes a mean chocolate chip cookie, she says. "And I have a really mean triple-layer chocolate cake (recipe) with whip cream in the center and buttercream frosting all around. It's dreamy. I don't make it very often, though, because it's like 700 calories a slice!" [laughing]

Running: She has run a marathon, and hopes to run the half in Columbus this fall.

Music: Her tastes vary, from Muse to The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac to Bon Jovi. "I'm a huge Bon Jovi fan. I see them in concert every time they come through."

Reading: Her favorite book is the most recent she's read. Currently, it's "Unbroken."

In Her Words

On anchoring: I want to go out and find stories and connect with people in the field and from the desk.

On Columbus: I love it. I feel as if I have been greeted by this tidal wave of kindness. I sincerely do. Columbus knows how to make a girl feel welcome.

On Buckeye fans: Of course I already have my scarlet and gray! [She pulls a Buckeye necklace from her purse that someone gave her.] Ohio State will be my adopted team. I like people who are passionate. I don't think you should do anything halfway, and Ohio State fans don't do anything halfway.

WBNS 10TV is owned by The Dispatch Printing Co., which also owns Capital Style.