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Life through the lens. For more than 20 years I have been fortunate enough to be a member of the WHNT News 19 family. The best part, I’ve been able to do so in the area I grew up in – “The Shoals”. A Florence native, I attended Florence City Schools and graduated from Coffee High School before attending the University of North Alabama (Roar Lions!).

In high school the photography bug latched on and I learned the craft of still photography and developing pictures while working on the yearbook staff. Those skills evolved into an interest in videography and journalism while in college. I had a family member working in the news industry at the time, so I was able to tag along to events and get the behind the scenes culture.

Nearing the end of my college career, I landed my first television job at WOWL TV-15 in Florence. At the time, the station produced two newscasts a day and was the Shoals NBC affiliate. I learned everything from running master control to teleprompter, shooting news video and honing my skills of editing and writing. There’s nothing like the first television job and being exposed to all facets of the building.

After my time at WOWL, I packed up my car and headed to Tupelo, MS for a photographer position with WTVA News 9. While there, I built my skills of photography and editing. Covering most of north Mississippi, I was exposed to all sorts of news events, validating my decision of making this a career I would love.

Months after arriving in Mississippi, WHNT News 19 called me home. Starting as an editor/photographer in Huntsville, I quickly proved myself and was promoted to the position of photographer in the Shoals Bureau. While working in the bureau I have had the chance to work with many distinguished journalists and received numerous state awards from my peers.

Telling the story of our residents in the Shoals is what makes each and every day so fulfilling for me. Which is why in December of 2015, I decided to move from behind the camera and begin reporting full time as Shoals Bureau Chief for WHNT News 19. This was a step of faith, and so far I have loved it. Our residents and viewers here have been so supportive in this new role, which makes me wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.

If you ever have a story idea, please reach out to me through one of several ways. You can email me at carter.watkins@whnt.com, or contact me through social media. My official Facebook page is “Carter Watkins WHNT” or on Twitter at “WHNT Shoals”.

What do I enjoy away from work? I love Jesus, wood-working, home projects, nature and theatre. My family and I are active members of Faith Church in Florence. I also volunteer with the Gingerbread Players of the Shoals Theatre (a children’s theatre group).

Recent Articles
  • Peter Capote found guilty of capital murder for the death of Kijana Freeman

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – The second man to stand trial for the murder of a Tuscumbia teenager learned his fate on Tuesday.  It didn’t take a Colbert County jury very long to convict a Muscle Shoals man of capital murder. According to courthouse officials, Peter Capote was found guilty after just over an hour of jury deliberations. Capote has been on trial for his part in the shooting death of Kijana Freeman in March of 2016. Immediately following the guilty verdict, the jury […]

  • Florence Middle School construction progressing despite weather issues

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Ten months ago, construction began on a new multi-million-dollar middle school in the city of Florence. On Tuesday, clouds loomed over the construction site of Florence Middle School. They’re indicative of what Mother Nature has hit the project with over the last several months. “We had a really bad January where we had that one week that it snowed and then it turned into ice,” stated Assistant Superintendent Connie Wallace of Florence City Schools. Since January, the […]

  • Colbert County cities optimistic following TVA land sale

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – It has taken several years to get to this point, now it may take another 90-days to close on a large surplus tract of land auctioned off by TVA in the Shoals. In March of 2017, the Tennessee Valley Authority showed renewed interest in selling off a massive land tract on the Muscle Shoals Reservation. 900 acres, including several buildings abandoned by TVA over the years. Sheffield Mayor Ian Sanford has been anticipating the land sale along […]

  • Franklin County: Pilgrim’s Pride employees give area major cleaning

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Their economic impact on Franklin County already reaches nearly $100-million a year. The county’s largest employer upped their game even more this week, putting employees to work for the city of Russellville and Franklin County. During a normal work-week, the parking lot is packed. Pilgrim’s Pride employees some 900 people at their Franklin County processing plant. With upgrades to the facility going on this week they gave their employees options, take vacation time or work for the […]

  • Search continues for clues in Moulton woman’s disappearance

    MOULTON, Ala. – Day four of the search for a missing Lawrence County woman and wife of a Moulton City Councilman. Jennifer Marshell White drove away from her home on Sunday afternoon, and family members are pleading for help to find her. It was just before 1:45 Sunday afternoon when Jennifer White pulled into the Trading Post gas station on Alabama 33, south of Moulton. The clerk remembers her coming in and paying for $10 in gas; it is the […]

  • Pete Wesson child pornography trial enters testimony phase in Lauderdale County

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A former Florence business owner is on trial this week, accused of producing and sending child pornography. First arrested in late 2016, William “Pete” Wesson has been indicted twice on child porn charges. Testimony is underway in the trial of 66-year-old Pete Wesson. Wesson claims he was helping law enforcement investigate the trading of child pornography; however, prosecutors say the trouble with that is, no law enforcement knew about his activities. On Tuesday, agents with Homeland Security […]

  • Graffiti of Trump involved in school shooting shocks the city of Florence

    UPDATE:  This story was initially reported Monday, April 2.  As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 3, city workers had already painted over the mural in downtown Florence.   FLORENCE, Ala. – The wonderful thing about the First Amendment, people are allowed to express their thoughts and feelings. However, someone has shocked an entire city after they put their latest graffiti creation in downtown Florence. Historic Downtown Florence is known for its all-American feel. Over the last several years though, graffiti artists […]

  • Florence celebrates Bicentennial with faces from the past

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The city of Florence is celebrating their Bicentennial in 2018. On Monday, a once-in-a-lifetime collection of portraits went on display giving honor to the founding fathers and mothers. In the early nineteenth century, very few had the financial means to have a portrait of themselves painted. Which makes this gallery collection quite special. “If we don’t know where we’ve been; how can we really know where we are going,” stated Florence Historian Billy Ray Warren as he […]

  • Petting zoo settles lawsuit with Shoals families in sex abuse case

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A horrifying chapter in the lives of six families has been closed this week. Just weeks after an alleged child predator pleaded guilty to inappropriately touching young girls, the families have settled a civil lawsuit. The saga began two years ago in the parking lot of a shopping center in Florence. Six young girls, all under the age of 12, told their parents a man working at the petting zoo groped them. Florence police were immediately notified […]

  • Murder of disabled Lauderdale County man still unsolved

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – A family continues to mourn the death of a Lauderdale County man. Sheriff’s office investigators continue to follow leads, but they haven’t made an arrest in the murder of a 62-year-old man. He lived a simple life, in a wooded area off County Road 94 north of St. Florian. On March 8th, a family member found 62-year-old Tommy Blevins dead inside his travel trailer. An autopsy performed on March 9th indicated he was murdered. Since the […]

  • Services for victims of sexual assault restored in the Shoals

    FLORENCE, Ala. – For close to a year, there’s been a struggle to get victims of sexual assault in the Shoals the help they need. Due to grant management issues, a victim services group lost their state funding and had to shut-down. On Thursday, it was announced there is a new grant administrator and services have been restored. One Place of the Shoals started as a single location for victim’s of domestic violence to get help. They are expanding their […]

  • Lauderdale County poised to solve jail overcrowding

    FLORENCE, Ala. – For several years, the Lauderdale County Detention Center has seen extreme overcrowding. Couple that with a “poor” design, and Sheriff Rick Singleton has had his hands full since taking office. But the county will soon begin construction on a temporary solution. 301, that’s how many inmates were being held in the detention center Tuesday morning. The trouble with that number, it’s 100 more than their capacity. Sheriff Singleton said there are quite a few people having to […]