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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, 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
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    Volunteers set to clean up Shoals waterways this weekend

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It’s a natural resource which draws thousands of people into the Tennessee Valley. But the Tennessee River is in need of the public’s help. On Saturday, residents of the Shoals are being asked to help walk the shorelines to clean it up. Native Americans call it the river which sings. The tranquil waters of the Tennessee River lure in tourists from across the world each year for various water sports.  It’s also the lifeblood for the Valley’s […]

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    Troopers continue investigation into Lauderdale County woman’s death

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Two years ago this week, tragedy struck on Alabama 20, just a couple of miles from the Tennessee state line. A 71-year-old woman was hit by a vehicle and died.  Authorities are still looking for the driver. It was just after 8a.m. on September 24th of 2014 and Wilma Darlene Carles was heading to get her morning coffee. Her daily quest took her across Alabama 20 in the Murphy Crossroads Community to D&R Hardware store. It […]

  • Robert Deshawn Childers was reported missing on September 19, 2016. If you have seen him, please call the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office at (256) 760-5757.

    Man missing since Sept. 19, last seen in northern Lauderdale County

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Authorities are looking for a missing man in Lauderdale County.  Robert Deshawn Childers was reported missing on Monday, September 19. He was last seen walking north on County Road 141, in the northern part of the county, north of Cloverdale. Childers, 51, has brown hair and blue eyes.  He is 6’2″ and weighs about 240 pounds. He was wearing blue jeans, a green long-sleeved shirt and brown cowboy boots. If you have seen Robert Childers or […]

  • Milagro, with a worker at Florence Animal Hospital on Tuesday before her surgery. Her right eye was bulging and was surgically removed the next day. (Photo: Shevaun Bryan/WHNT News 19)

    Florence Police make headway in animal abuse case; now say dog wasn’t dumped

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police say they’ve made headway in an animal abuse investigation that sparked earlier this week in Florence. Officers say the story has changed, and the puppy wasn’t dumped in a bag on the side of the road after all. The dog suffered severe injuries to her face and right eye, which was badly swollen and removed Wednesday in surgery. She was given the name ‘Milagro’ by workers at Florence Animal Hospital, which means ‘miracle’ in Spanish.  The […]

  • man apologizes about dog

    APOLOGY: Sheffield man under fire for holding gun to dog’s head says he’s sorry

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Was a man pushed to apologize because of public outrage over a social media post?  It sure seems that way. Both the Sheffield and Florence Police Departments have been searching for Zachary Wade Moore Jr. for over a week. In pictures posted to social media last week, Moore held what appeared to be a gun to a puppy’s head while holding the dog by the scruff of its neck. Local police wanted to talk with Moore, but it […]

  • David Bradley (foreground) reads over results while Hermon Graham looks on. (Carter Watkins / WHNT News 19)

    Recount nets same results in Florence District 3 City Council seat

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Elections officials in Florence held a recount in the District 3 City Council race Friday. The incumbent councilman requested the recount after results from the August election showed him losing by a 2-to-1 margin. For 20 years, Hermon Graham has represented the residents of District 3 in Florence. So, it’s been a little tough for him swallow losing his council seat by such a large margin in August. According to Graham, he originally requested a hand-recount of […]

  • Sheffield Police now confirm the man in these photos is Zachary Wade Moore, Jr. They want to question him, but currently don't have warrants for his arrest. If you know where Moore is, please call Sheffield Police at (256) 383-1771.

    Sheffield Police identify man in pictures holding gun to puppy’s head, ask for public’s help to find him

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Police in northwest Alabama have been under intense social media pressure to do something about photos showing a man holding a gun to a dog’s head. The photos were posted last weekend.  Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray said he started getting calls at home on Sunday, September 4 about local people who were outraged, calling police about this. Even Chief Ray called the pictures shocking. “The puppy was in his lap, pointing a gun to the puppy’s head. […]

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    Hubbard pleads not guilty in Tuscumbia teen’s shooting death

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – The man thought to be behind the shooting death of a Tuscumbia teen back in March appeared in court for arraignment Thursday morning. Thomas Hubbard, along with two other men, was indicted for capital murder just a couple of weeks ago. During Thomas Hubbard’s arraignment Thursday morning, attorneys may have outlined their defense within their plea. After the reading of the indictment, attorneys stated Hubbard was not guilty of capital, and then added not guilty by reason […]

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    Florence investigators need help identifying theft suspects

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence Police Department is releasing surveillance video in hopes of identifying some possible theft suspects. On August 11th, these three people entered the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Florence to do a little shopping. Trouble is they were using someone else’s credit card. Florence police said they need help figuring out who these folks are. At least one of them has racked up $800 worth of charges on the stolen card. Luckily the card has been shut […]

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    Former petting zoo employee indicted on child sex abuse charges in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A former petting zoo employee has been indicted on multiple counts of child sex abuse. Since his arrest in late April, the families of six children have come forward, saying Daryl Victor Raymond, Jr. touched their child inappropriately while visiting a petting zoo. According to the indictments handed down by a Lauderdale County Grand Jury, Raymond is charged with six counts of unlawful sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. Florence police received a […]

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    Florence Police release arrest statistics in order to be transparent

    FLORENCE, Ala. – With unrest against law enforcement still at a heightened level, one Shoals agency is being proactive in the public eye. Instead of allowing critics to put misinformation out to the public, the Florence Police Department is posting their own facts and figures on the job they are doing. Ask any law enforcement officer and they will tell you policing is different now because of social media. Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler said there is a lot of […]

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    Two capital murder suspects arraigned in Colbert County

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Two men accused of gunning down a Tuscumbia teenager was arraigned Wednesday afternoon. Indicted just a few weeks ago for capital murder, Peter Capote and Benjamin Young made their first appearance in circuit court. Under heavy security, both men were escorted into the Colbert County Courthouse where they took turns standing before Judge Hal Hughston and entering a plea of not guilty to capital murder. According to court documents, Peter Capote and Benjamin Young are thought to […]