4:30 – 7am: Watch WHNT News 19 This Morning
  • Follow me on:

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
  • 042816 LD Wills For Officers 6pm PKG

    Lauderdale Probate Judge, attorneys offer free wills for law enforcement

    FLORENCE, Ala. – They go out every day and night, not knowing if they will return home at the end of their shift. Law enforcement put their lives on the line to protect their communities daily. “We recognize that what police officers do is very difficult and dangerous and unfortunately with some recent incidents, that’s really hit home here in Lauderdale County,” explained Probate Judge Will Motlow. On average, every 61 hours a law enforcement officer loses his life in […]

  • Shoals Area CrimeStoppers

    Florence Police search for two women accused of theft

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The picture might be a bit grainy, but investigators are hopeful it’s good enough to identify two women. In January, the duo went to Big Lots on Darby Drive, loading up their buggy. Florence Police said when they checked out they used a stolen and forged check. The clerk accepted it, not knowing anything was wrong. The ladies got away with their loot and now investigators would like to know who they are. Authorities in Lauderdale County […]

  • Phil Campbell monument

    Tonight’s service in Phil Campbell moved to high school gymnasium due to weather

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Phil Campbell was one of the hardest hit areas in north Alabama on April 27, 2011.  Twenty-seven Franklin County residents lost their lives.  Wednesday night, hundreds are expected to gather to remember loved ones who died. NOTE: The event at 6 p.m. was initially scheduled to be held in the stadium.  It has been moved inside to the high school gymnasium due to the possibility of inclement weather.  We plan to stream this event on […]

  • Tom Hunter with American Heritage Trees places a sapling taken from a tornado damaged tree at Ivy Green on the stump of the tree in which it was taken from. (Carter Watkins / WHNT News 19)

    Historic Ivy Green tree replaced with a descendent sapling

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – A historic tree on the grounds of Helen Keller’s birthplace was destroyed by a tornado last year.  Monday, a descendant of the tree which Keller wrote about was planted in its place. Since July of 2015 the old oak tree has sat on the grounds of Ivy Green. It’s estimated the tree stood proudly in Tuscumbia for more than 240 years. “It was a sapling when our country was a sapling,” explained Tom Hunter with American Heritage […]

  • 042216 LD Tennis Complex 6pm PKG

    Tourism directors take first step in creating Florence attraction

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – After years of debate on what to do with Veterans Park, a possible attraction is gaining ground. Tourism officials have taken steps to move forward with a possible multi-court tennis complex. “It’s a great opportunity to add to the quality of life for Florence and Lauderdale County. And of course, it’s a tourism attractor. We have the opportunity to attract new tournaments,” Rob Carnegie, President/CEO of Florence-Lauderdale Tourism explained. The Board of Directors for the Florence-Lauderdale […]

  • 041516 LD Keep Shoals Beautiful 5pm PKG

    Selfie challenge helps promote recycling in the Shoals

    KILLEN, Ala. (WHNT) – A couple of months ago a social media challenge began in the Shoals urging elementary school kids to post selfies of them recycling.  The response was overwhelming. Kindergarten through sixth graders participated in #IKeepTheShoalsBeautiful. “If you recycle it can help the world and it can help everything that you live in,” said Kimber Leoni. With the help of her mom, Leoni posted several of her own pictures each week during the challenge. Friday morning, the Brooks […]

  • promo284948298

    Muscle Shoals Fire Department and community rally around family during tragedy

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) – When tragedy strikes, they are the people who run toward it, no matter the risk. But firefighters band together and lift up their own when they experience personal tragedy. One Muscle Shoals firefighter is in the midst of an unfathomable tragedy. “None of us could go back to sleep, we’re devastated,” said Muscle Shoals firefighter Josh Jordan. “He’s our family, that’s our family.” Firefighter Ben Chester’s turn-outs lay right where he left them early Wednesday […]

  • 041316 LD Jail Mental Health Issues 5pm PKG

    Lauderdale deputies set to train due to mental health budget cuts

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Budget cuts on the state level are placing more and more burdens on local communities. Some of those cuts are forcing a sheriff’s department to train staff in how to deal with the mentally ill more frequently and for extended amounts of time. “It’s a problem which is not going away, and we just have to prepare for it and do the best we can to meet that challenge,” stated Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton. Recently Singleton […]

  • WHNT News 19 logo

    Man killed in accident with train in Colbert County

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – One person died in a wreck involving a pickup truck and train on Wednesday. Emergency responders say the incident happened just after 1:30 p.m. on Red Rock Road, near the Barton community in Colbert County. Alabama State Troopers say 46 year old Derris Lamone Cortner of Cherokee was killed in the crash. According to authorities, the Cortner  was traveling southbound on Red Rock Road and attempted to cross the railroad tracks when an eastbound train hit the […]

  • 041216 LD School Lunches WEB

    Brooks High parent claims daughter was denied lunch; school refutes claim

    KILLEN, Ala. (WHNT) – You’d likely be upset if your child came home saying they were denied food at school. Some Tennessee Valley parents say that’s exactly what happened this week at one school. A parent emailed WHNT News 19 saying, “96 students at Brooks High School had their lunches taken away and thrown in the trash.” Shane Tanner sends his daughter to Brooks High School each day.  It’s where he expects her to be educated, supervised and fed. But […]

  • 041116 CO Officer Attack

    Sheffield officer targeted by arsonist loses truck and boat to flames

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) – Crime has hit a little too close to home for a veteran police officer. When a police officer signs up to serve and protect his community, he accepts certain risks. “It’s uneasy; I don’t sleep as well as I did before this,” stated Sgt. Ray Terry with the Sheffield Police Department. Sgt. Terry accepted those risks and did his best to leave them at work; that changed last week. “I awoke to a sound outside my […]

  • wilson dam 1

    Lauderdale County man electrocuted inside Wilson Dam

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – The Colbert County Coroner confirms a man died this morning inside Wilson Dam. First responders say the 52-year-old was electrocuted just after 8:00 a.m. The incident happened on the 11th floor of the dam when the man inadvertently touched a live electrical box. Authorities will not release the name of the man until his next of kin are notified. Tennessee Valley Authority inspectors are managing the investigation.    


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,952 other followers