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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
  • Florence police seek help in solving January murder

    FLORENCE, Ala. – In January Florence police responded to a welfare check at an apartment. What they found launched a homicide investigation which remains unsolved. It was Saturday morning, January 21st when the case began. Florence police were called to check on Andrea Forbes at her Simpson Street apartment. When they got there Forbes was found dead. For the past six months investigators have spent hours talking with those who knew her. Andrea Forbes had moved to the Shoals to work in […]

  • Retired U.S. Marine given Florence home for family

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A retired Marine and his family have been handed the keys to a fully furnished home. The country he vowed to protect, made a promise to take care of him. Escorted by the Patriot Guard, Sgt. Jeremy Anderson and his family pulled into the driveway in Florence Thursday morning. They were overcome by the home and those there to welcome them. “This is like coming home from a deployment,” stated Anderson. Bank of America purchased the home […]

  • Little girl badly injured in pig attack near Rogersville

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – A small child was attacked by a neighbors pet pig near Rogersville and had to be airlifted from the scene. Monday afternoon, Bella White and her two brothers were out in the yard soaking up the sun. Without any type of warning,  a neighbors pig came into the yard and attacked. “My boys came running in saying the pig was attacking Bella. I came running out,” the victim’s mother, Amber White recalled. “The pig had her arm […]

  • W.C. Handy Music Festival kicking off this weekend

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Music will begin filling the air across northwest Alabama this evening. A parade will kick-off the annual W.C. Handy Music Festival in downtown Florence Friday night. Almost everywhere you go in northwest Alabama over the coming days, you will likely hear music playing. From the lawns of municipal buildings to libraries musicians will be playing their hearts out; all for the “Father of the Blues”. “This is going to be the largest amount of events taking place […]

  • Suspect needs identifying in Florence theft case

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police need help tracking down a theft suspect. The man was seen on surveillance filling up his shopping cart, but he didn’t quite make it out of the store. Florence police said the suspect was seen wearing a red t-shirt and camouflage Alabama hat. According to investigators, he tried stealing several hundred dollars worth of merchandise. The incident took place on July 5 at Walmart on Hough Road. As he was trying to leave, the greeter asked for […]

  • Trains causing headaches for Sheffield residents and motorists

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Frustration among residents is growing. Even those who travel through the Colbert County city of Sheffield are getting upset. If you live in the Sheffield Village or Rivermont, Douglas Street is your friend. It can get you to the shopping districts pretty quick. But over the last several weeks, numerous trains have come to a complete stop at the crossing. “Part of the frustration is you don’t know, even if a train is moving, how long is […]

  • New middle school in Florence passes 10% completion phase

    FLORENCE, Ala. – In just a few weeks students will be heading back to class to start the 2017-2018 school year. Underneath the hot July sun construction workers are feverishly building. The site of the former Florence Middle School on Hermitage Drive will be the site of the new Florence Middle School. Foundations are being poured and block walls are being erected. School system administrators admit there were some early bumps in the road, but progress never halted. “We did […]

  • Tuscumbia to borrow funds to make up for revenue deficit

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – The City of Tuscumbia is tightening their belt right now. With a little over two months left in the fiscal year funds are getting short. The city council has decided to go to the bank to make sure bills get paid. “We don’t have the mindset of let’s continue and get by,” Tuscumbia Mayor Kerry Underwood explained. “Our mindset is let’s make it better and this is just a stop-gap.” Mayor Underwood is in his ninth month […]

  • Search intensifies for missing Tuscumbia woman

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Law enforcement across the northwest Alabama region are searching for a missing woman. Last seen Thursday night, authorities are concerned about Sachiko Basden’s well-being. From the air and ground, law enforcement was combing every inch of Richmond Hills in Tuscumbia Monday morning. Her husband last saw Sachiko as he was going to bed. She was listening to music in the garage. “I woke up at 3:30 and she was not in the bed,” Ray Basden explained. “So, […]

  • Burglars hit numerous cars over the weekend in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It’s a crime of opportunity which police say the victims play a part in. This past weekend numerous cars in Florence were burglarized while sitting in their own driveway. “All you’re doing is pulling on a door handle and you’re grabbing whatever; loose change or whatever kind of valuables that are in the vehicle,” described Sgt. Dennis Patterson with Florence police. It’s a snatch and grab; burglars walking through neighborhoods in the middle of the night checking […]

  • Authorities searching for “Most Wanted” in Colbert County

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Law enforcement agencies in the Shoals are holding hundreds of outstanding warrants. The Shoals Area Crime Stoppers is featuring some of the folk’s authorities need help locating. We start off this most wanted list with the Colbert County Sheriff’s Office. Thursday afternoon, deputies released the mug shot of Lyndon Ricks. He has outstanding warrants for failure to pay child support.   We now move to Muscle Shoals. Tabitha Anne McKinney has an arrest warrant for theft […]

  • North Alabama Medical Center reaches construction milestone

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Five years ago this week, talks began about building a new hospital in the Shoals. Thursday morning RCCH HealthCare Partners reached a milestone on the project. As signatures were placed on a steel beam, construction workers were hard at it. The white beam is a symbol; a promise to a community which was given years ago. “It’s very clear that the area needs more care and more access to care, ease of getting in and out. You know […]