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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
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    Salvation Army of the Shoals needs help adopting Angels

    FLORENCE, Ala. – There’s a call for help being sent out across northwest Alabama. The Salvation Army of the Shoals has launched their annual Angel Tree program to help families in need. Just inside the main entrance to Dillard’s at the Florence Mall sits a tree of hope. Angels adorn the Christmas tree waiting to be adopted. This year they are closing in on the 1,500 mark for children needing help. “Every day we are doing emergency cases, families who […]

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    Millions to hit the roads over the holiday weekend; Troopers urge safety

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Millions of people are expected to be on the highways across the nation over the next few days. Whether you’re traveling to see family or just the local shopping center, you will notice more law enforcement. State troopers are ramping up patrols, looking to keep drivers safe while behind the wheel. “It’s our busiest time of year for travelers and it’s something we see throughout the state,” stated ALEA spokesman Sr. Trooper Jonathan Appling. “We see […]

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    Shoals business owners to benefit from new hospital construction

    FLORENCE, Ala. – If there is a bright side to not getting any rain over the last several weeks, it can be found on Veterans Drive in Florence. The site of the new North Alabama Medical Center is being transformed. “We’re taking advantage of the dry weather. I know it’s not convenient to everyone, but to construction it is,” explained Jason Adams, Construction Manager for Layton Construction. “Production is high; we are getting a lot of earthwork moved. But there’s […]

  • (Photo: Carter Watkins/WHNT News 19)

    UPDATE: Police identify man who died after being shot during home invasion

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence Police Department is on the scene of a shooting on East Limestone Street. The incident happened early Tuesday morning near the intersection of Plum Street. As officers were responding to the scene they were notified by a homeowner that a home invasion had occurred at his residence resulting in the shots being fired. Officers say they located a black male who has been identified as 26-year-old James Devaughn Demoss, of Hanceville, Alabama, who had been shot […]

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    Shoals musician struck and killed by vehicle; driver still sought

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – We are gathering more information about the weekend incident which claimed a man’s life in Lauderdale County. Massachusetts native Brian Sandlin was killed while walking along the side of a busy highway, the driver who struck him has yet to be identified. Just outside the Florence city limits, orange dots are now spray painted on Highway 20. State Troopers say this is where 25-year-old Brian Sandlin lost his life. The incident reportedly happened just before 3:30 […]

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    Former Florence car dealer arrested for failure to provide titles

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The owner of a now defunct car dealership in Florence has been arrested. The lot on Florence Boulevard sits empty now, but back in the early summer it was home to Joey Blasingame Auto Sales. Florence Police Detective Alex Guynn said they started getting complaints about Blasingame in July. “A week or so prior to him closing his car lot, we received some reports of him selling cars and not giving a title or a title of […]

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    Source of food contamination that caused 77 people to get sick in the Shoals identified

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Public Health released some staggering numbers Thursday morning for the number of people who got ill from a potential food borne illness in the Shoals. Dozens had to seek treatment, while others had to be hospitalized. And we may now know where it came from. Hospitals across north Alabama started seeing residents come in Sunday morning with potential food poisoning. State health officials were immediately notified of a potential outbreak. “This is […]

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    State’s largest solar farm opens in Lauderdale County

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – The ribbon has officially been cut on a rather large solar farm in northwest Alabama. When you think about solar panels, you might picture a few dozen out in a field. That’s far from what the River Bend Solar Energy Center is. There are 300,000 solar panels now covering 640 acres of land in the Oakland community. “They track with the sun to maximize the energy, and the electricity it can generate to power more than […]

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    TVA makes surprising announcement about Colbert Fossil Plant

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – TVA has made a surprising announcement concerning a power generation plant in the Shoals. They have decided to tear-down the Colbert Fossil Plant by the end of next year. Colbert County Commissioner David Black couldn’t believe the news when he got it Thursday morning, “I am disappointed in the decision by TVA.” Three years ago when TVA made the decision to shut down Colbert Fossil Plant, Black and other commissioners met with TVA leaders. The plant […]

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    Shoals airport experiences boarding numbers like never before

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – In less than nine months, the Northwest Alabama Regional Airport has done an about-face in the number of boardings they have seen. A year ago, the airport parking lot was empty, so too was the ticket counter and waiting area. That has changed in a big way since Boutique Air starting serving the airport. “Boutique is doing a very good job at making sure their on time performance hovers about 99%,” explained Barry Griffith, Director of […]

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    Tourism officials launch new app for Shoals visitors

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Technology will be helping tourists in the Shoals find all of the local hot-spots. Tourism officials in Lauderdale County released a new app Tuesday, designed to make visitors feel more at home. “We are heavily, aggressively working our social media efforts and website and just engaging with folks digitally,” stated Rob Carnegie with Florence-Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. To come along side of social media and the website, they just released a new app. The “Visit Florence […]

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    Florence’s Indian Mound Museum still weeks from opening

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A new attraction highlighting the Native American is nearing completion. In the shadow of the historic Indian Mound, sits a $1.2 million Indian Museum. With custom artwork adorning the front wall, visitors are taken back in time. “It’s very important that we tell the story of the people who were here first and how significant the Native American was to our culture,” said Todd Nix with the Florence Parks and Recreation Department. For years the city operated […]