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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
  • Florence Fire forced to relocate trucks to cover city

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The city of Florence has reached a critical time in their fire service, the fleet of fire trucks are aging. Florence fire trucks see hundreds of hours of use every year. They’re almost always in motion running fire and medical calls. Years of use and abuse are starting to take their toll. “It’s a typical situation, but at this point it looks like all of them are going down at the same time,” Chief Jeffrey Perkins explained. […]

  • Tuscumbia gets help in much needed paving project

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Drive through Tuscumbia and you’ll notice a problem which has been on the minds of city leaders. Cracks in the pavement and pot-holes riddling the roads have gotten to a point something has to be done. “They’re very bad,” described Tuscumbia Mayor Kerry Underwood. “I don’t know how to compare them to other city’s, but I don’t think there will be anyone who has worse roads than ours when you take it as a whole.” With less […]

  • Colbert County prepares to open more storm shelters

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – It’s tough to say, but April 27, 2011, changed the way everyone prepares for severe weather. The tornado outbreak got the attention of emergency management officials everywhere. Although tornadoes didn’t cause massive amounts of damage in Colbert County, it did point out some deficiencies. “Prior to 2011, we had five places in Colbert County that were considered a community storm shelter,” explained Colbert County EMA Director Mike Melton. Teaming up with FEMA and his county commission, […]

  • Parked trains frustrating many Sheffield residents

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Some Colbert County residents are dealing with a safety issue. Blocked railroad crossings have become common-place in and around Sheffield, and there’s not much law enforcement can do about it. “When you live in Sheffield, when you commute through Sheffield, it’s something you expect, and kind of plan your day around it,” stated Police Chief Greg Ray. It’s not the trains moving through Sheffield which bother Chief Ray; it’s parked trains, some being more than a mile […]

  • Shoals EMA leaders ask boaters to stay off river during flooding conditions

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Emergency Management Agencies in the Shoals have a warning for boaters, stay off the Tennessee River. Although they can’t shut down river travel during flooding conditions, it is strongly discouraged for everyone’s safety. It’s one of the most scenic natural resources we have here in the valley. But for all its beauty, the Tennessee River is also one of the most dangerous. Especially right now. “In these extreme situations, it’s multiplied 10-fold,” stated Colbert County EMA […]

  • Former petting zoo employee pleads guilty to sexual abuse charges involving minors

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – WHNT News 19 has been following a developing story out of Lauderdale County for much of the day on Tuesday. A former petting zoo employee accused of inappropriately touching half a dozen small girls pleaded guilty. What was docketed as a motions hearing to prepare for his trial next week, turned into a plea agreement for Daryl Raymond. He has been in custody since his arrest in late April of 2016. That’s when one child got […]

  • Resolution delivered to state house to increase Colbert County fuel tax

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – A resolution has been delivered to the state legislature this session to increase the fuel tax in Colbert County. County leaders say roads are deteriorating quicker than they can fix them on limited funds. “This road has really lost its entire template. We’ll be bringing something in probably to work it, if we get the revenue,” explained John Bedford the Colbert County Engineer. Bedford has been the Colbert County Engineer since 2000. Each year he has […]

  • Florence police arrest two in connection to thousands stolen using cloned credit cards

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Florence Police have arrested two people in connection with an identity theft case. Investigators say that dozens of victims reported fraudulent charges to their credit and debit cards from Sam’s Club in Florence. Thousands of dollars were fraudulently charged to cloned cards. Police say as of now over $15,000 in charges have been tabulated, just locally. “One of the specific items they were gathering would be, come in and use the cloned cards to purchase gift cards,” said FPD […]

  • Shoals skimming suspect wanted by law enforcement

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Law enforcement across northwest Alabama are on the lookout for a skimming suspect. He hit multiple ATM’s in the Shoals trying to steal people’s identities. On January 25th, Muscle Shoals was the first police department alerted about a skimming device being found. They believe this man placed it on the ATM at Listerhill Credit Union on Woodward Avenue. A credit union member thought the device looked kind of sketchy and pulled it off. Listerhill Credit Union […]

  • Skimmers hit two ATM’s across the Shoals; suspect picture released

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Running by an ATM is normally a task which is done with very little thought. But a Colbert County resident noticed something a bit off, and it turns out he may have saved hundreds of people from falling victim to identity theft. Getting some cash from a Listerhill Credit Union branch in Muscle Shoals on Sunday morning a member noticed his card didn’t go in very smoothly. “They had been to one of our ATM’s and […]

  • Awaiting trial, Florence man indicted on new child pornography charges

    Florence, Ala. – A retired Florence business owner accused of possessing obscene material of a person under the age of 17 is back behind bars charged with dozens of counts of producing child pornography. William “Pete” Wesson was taken into custody Thursday afternoon on new grand jury indictments. First arrested in November of 2016, 65-year-old Pete Wesson recently had more than 100 new indictments handed down against him for possessing child pornography and producing pornographic material with minors. Wesson made […]

  • Muscle Shoals theft caught on-camera; police seek suspect

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – The Muscle Shoals Police Department is seeking information on who may have stolen an ATV and utility trailer. The theft was caught on camera – so chances are you might just recognize the suspect.Under the cover of darkness, a white SUV appears out of nowhere. Muscle Shoals police say the person driving what they believe to be a Dodge Durango – is responsible for a high dollar theft. Just after 2:30 on the morning on January […]