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Kristyn Hartman says 'it makes sense to follow my heart home'

Kristyn Hartman leaving.jpg
Courtesy WCPO-TV
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Anchor Kristyn Hartman is leaving WCPO-TV after the May "sweeps" rating period ends.

The Chicago native, hired to anchor after Carol Williams's retirement in 2017, plans to return to her hometown to be near family and explore jobs outside television news.

Update 8:30 a.m. Friday May 13: With her mother, boyfriend, sister and 100-year-old grandmother in Chicago, it was time to head home.

"I was living with one foot in Ohio and the other in Illinois. It just makes sense to follow my heart home," says Kristyn Hartman, who is leaving WCPO-TV after five years – and the TV news business – to move back to Chicago.

Hartman announced Tuesday afternoon she was retiring from broadcasting at the end of May and going home to "be near family and explore work opportunities outside television news."

The new chapter in her life includes writing a book based on her father's letters to her mother from Vietnam during the war, she says. She won a regional Emmy Award for her special about her father's service in Vietnam after Ken Burns used his photo in his 2017 PBS documentary, The Vietnam War.

"I have loved my five years in Cincinnati. The city and its people will always be special to me. Plus it's a great news town. I can't think of a better place to end my almost 30 year broadcast career."

But her love for the Queen City did not change her allegiance to the Chicago Cubs. She still bleeds blue.

"You bloom where you're planted, and you cheer for the home team, unless your hometown team comes to visit," she says. "My Grandma Ligman raised me to be a Cubs fan. She would have been devastated if I didn't support the Cubs when they came to town. So I made grandma proud on those occasions!"

She's looking "at a range of job options outside of news because I want a different chapter. I can't wait to see where I land!"

Original post noon Wednesday May 11: Anchor Kristyn Hartman is leaving WCPO-TV and the TV news business.

"I'll certainly miss (Cincinnati), but I know how fortunate I've been to call the Queen City home for the past five years," Hartman said in the station's announcement.

A Chicago native and 1992 Northwestern graduate, Hartman was hired by WCPO-TV in 2017 as Carol Williams retired after 30 years as the main co-anchor. Hartman came to Channel 9 from WBNS-TV in Columbus, where she was evening co-anchor.

Hartman is "retiring from broadcasting and leaving the station at the end of the month," according to the WCPO-TV announcement. "She will be returning to her hometown to be near family and explore work opportunities outside television news."

Hartman won a Best News Anchor Emmy award in 2018 from the regional chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences.

One of her hallmarks was talking about her personal experiences with viewers. She produced an Emmy-winning special about her father's service in Vietnam after Ken Burns used his photo in his 2017 PBS documentary, The Vietnam War.

Last July, Hartman opened up about her former husband's addiction problems in a "Positively Cincinnati" story promoting a WCPO-TV telethon for Madi's House, a place for people with mental health or addiction challenges founded by Channel 9 chief meteorologist Steve Raleigh and his wife, Julie.

"The 'Madi' in my life was my former husband, Chris. This spring (2021) he passed after a long struggle with alcohol," she wrote.

After a mastectomy in October 2015, she openly discussed the process on WBNS-TV to raise awareness about the procedure and the importance of cancer screening.

In her WCPO-TV bio she wrote:

"I am most proud of the stories that really educate viewers, introduce them to someone special, and take them somewhere they haven’t been. TV news is really an opportunity to be a teacher to the masses. I take it seriously.

"What are you most proud of in your own life? At some point in life, everyone has to walk through the fire. I recently had a 15-month stretch during which I faced a breast cancer diagnosis, and significant personal and professional change. It wasn’t easy, but I came through it, and I’m better for it. My goal is to live with grace. Tough situations teach you how to find it."

Hartman has supported many Greater Cincinnati organizations including Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women and the World Affairs Council, WCPO-TV said.

Jeff Brogan, WCPO-TV vice president and general manager, says Hartman is "one of the most committed, hard-working anchor-reporters I’ve ever worked with. She has a strong drive to connect with the viewers, telling their stories in a compassionate way. Whether it was anchoring, reporting, or producing half-hour specials, Kristyn made it a priority to provide our audiences with well-researched news and information. While she’s leaving broadcasting, I have no doubt she will be successful and continue to shine in her new career.”

As a college student at Northwestern University, Hartman was a news intern at WBBM-TV. She worked as an anchor-reporter in Joplin, Mo.; Peoria, Ill., Charlotte, N.C.; and Phoenix, Ariz., before returning to WBBM-TV in 2004 as a general assignment reporter. She also once co-anchored with legendary anchor Bill Kurtis at WBBN-TV before going to WBNS-TV in Columbus.