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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
  • Shoals emergency responders train for active shooter scenario

    FLORENCE, Ala. – We never want to see a terrorist attack here in the U.S., but groups around the country are always training for the “what if’s”. In the Shoals Tuesday, first responder groups conducted scenario based training. Encircled at the Florence Coliseum, first responders from across northwest Alabama gathered. The simulated mission they had been chosen for –  saving lives during an attack in downtown Florence. “This is all about preparedness,” stated Deputy Fire Chief Tim Anerton with Florence Fire […]

  • Alley garbage pick-up to stop for many Florence residents

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Change will soon be coming to hundreds of residents in the city of Florence. The city has decided to stop garbage pick-up in many alley-ways starting in October. Green bins line the alleys across many of the older districts, but starting the first week of October more than half of those who leave their garbage in the backyard will have to take it out front. This week the city of Florence sent out 400 notifications to home-owners […]

  • UPDATE: Trio sought in Lauderdale County robbery

    ***The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office has identified the three individuals thought to be involved in the August 27th robbery of a man. Investigators say arrest warrants will be issued in the coming days.*** FLORENCE, Ala. – The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a trio, all accused of conspiring to rob a man. They were caught on camera setting up their plot. Just before 11:30 on the night of August 27th two guys stroll into Walmart on Cloverdale Road […]

  • Trail of Tears participants being warned about road conditions along route

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Thousands of motorcycle riders are expected to traverse north Alabama this weekend for the Trail of Tears. Before they hit the open road emergency personnel have a couple of requests. Each September the roar of motorcycles starts in Bridgeport and ends in Waterloo. Thousands travel U.S. Highway 72 West remembering the Trail of Tears. Miles of riders are expected to rumble down the road on Saturday. “Just use extra care and caution,” stated Lauderdale County EMA Director […]

  • Florence School Board looks to revise enrollment policy so “Every Student Succeeds”

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence City School System is looking to revise an enrollment policy within the district. They are wanting to make it easier for students in foster care to get the education they deserve. Educators have said it is a policy which needed revision years ago. Students in foster care would be bounced around from school to school – district to district as their living arrangements changed. A Federal act is working its way down to the local […]

  • Pet adoption fees waived in Florence in preparation for Irma animal evacuees

    FLORENCE, Ala. – With thousands still misplaced from hurricanes across Texas and Florida there’s a dire need for the placement of animals. Many of the animal shelters in the affected areas received significant damage, and one shelter in the Shoals is stepping up to help. On average the Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter houses 150 dogs and cats each day. Some days they are so full they have to put some of the dogs in kennels outside. They are on a mission […]

  • Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office needs help identifying two men

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office needs help identifying a couple of men. They were caught on surveillance cameras shortly before a theft took place nearby. Investigators say the two men were driving white Toyota Camry, which was seen pulling up to the pumps of a gas station on Highway 20 in Central. One of the men could be seen wearing a dark-colored shirt and black hat. The other man is identified as older and was wearing a […]

  • Shoals “Litter Tournament” planned for Saturday

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Here in north Alabama, hundreds of fishing tournaments are held each year. And why not, we have some of the best fishing spots in the country. The Tennessee River offers some million-dollar views. Fishermen from all over the world come here to fish the waters. Members of the Yuchi tribe have called it the river that sings. “This river is very important to our economy, and our way of life, and our quality of life,” explained Rachel […]

  • Russellville PD and multiple agencies searching for theft suspects

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Law enforcement agencies across north Alabama are looking for two theft suspects. One of the duo has been caught on camera cashing a forged check. They struck again in Russellville early Thursday morning. One would wonder, does crime really pay? Over the last week, Russellville police say this woman is partially responsible for numerous car burglaries. Her accomplice hasn’t been caught on camera yet. Here she is cashing a stolen check with a forged signature in Madison. […]

  • Rogersville VFD remembers fire fighters killed in 9/11

    ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – It’s a day in history no-one will every forget. Sixteen years ago when the U.S. was attacked on it’s own soil, hundreds of first responders died while saving others. “That day they had no idea that this would happen. Within a matter of seconds, 343 lives were lost,” said Morris Lentz, Assistant Fire Chief at Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department. Men and women like Kevin O’Rourke and Michael Cammarata, fire fighters who ran toward harms way. They are […]

  • Car break-ins on the rise in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The City of Florence is seeing a sharp increase in the number of burglaries, and law enforcement say citizens are not helping themselves in trying to stop them. Normally they strike in the middle of the night, thieves check vehicles looking for an opportunity to steal. “We’ve had more concentrated areas that have been broken into; three different locations in the city that had multiple cars in that same location,” stated Sgt. Greg Cobb with Florence Police […]

  • Law enforcement and Alabama Music Hall of Fame prepare for auditions

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – It’s the calm before the storm. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame is being thrust onto the national stage Thursday with auditions for American Idol taking place in Tuscumbia. The marquee is already flashing auditions are coming. Several thousand people are expected to come from all over the southeast. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame will be getting a lot of attention. “This has been a big whirlwind. It started about three months ago and you know […]