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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
  • North Alabama Medical Center on schedule for December 2018 opening

    FLORENCE, Ala. – One year ago this week, an empty plot of land sat along Veterans Drive in Florence. Now on the same piece of property, a five-story hospital is being constructed. The view from the fifth-floor waiting room is remarkable. High above Veterans Drive you can see for miles. The location was highly calculated by the North Alabama Medical Center. “We feel our location here is perfect because we are very close to the river so we can serve all […]

  • Muscle Shoals police need help identifying a theft suspect

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – It’s probably safe to say security cameras are pretty much everywhere these days. Even in a Muscle Shoals furniture store where the cameras caught a man stealing. He must have thought he was a magician. A sleight of hand and the phone sitting on the table was gone, but it wasn’t a magic trick at all. As Muscle Shoals police reviewed the video, they say he put it in his right pocket. Investigators said the theft […]

  • Law enforcement arrest dozens in Lauderdale County round-up

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A few weeks ago the Lauderdale County court system announced an amnesty period for almost 2,000 people. Those with overdue fines and tickets were urged to clear them up or go to jail. The amnesty period ended on Tuesday, and Thursday law enforcement made good on their promise. The knocks began shortly after 9 o’clock. More than two dozen state and local law enforcement officers began rounding up those people with arrest warrants. Warrants they failed to […]

  • Florence students and teachers immersed in social and emotional learning

    FLORENCE, Ala. – As the saying goes, everyone has a story and it makes us who we are. Some students in Florence City Schools have gotten a life lesson this week by learning more about their fellow students and teachers. Approximately 100 high school students, freshmen through seniors, were welcomed to Challenge Day with high fives and pats on the back. They spent Wednesday immersed in social and emotional learning. Away from math books, students and teachers are learning more […]

  • Tuscumbia homeowner frustrated with unsightly city junkyard

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – WHNT News 19 is Taking Action to help a Tuscumbia resident with a junk problem. Across the street from her Cave Street home, the city has a junkyard and she wants it gone. “Clean that mess up,” stated Sadie Willingham. Willingham said old mowers and cars have sat there for years. “You back out you see it. You see my window in there, I sit there and watch that kind of stuff,” Willingham described. Mrs. Willingham said […]

  • Rogersville woman’s murder remains unsolved

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – It’s been two years since a Rogersville woman was found murdered in her apartment. The crime remains unsolved to this point, but investigators are hopeful they can bring someone to justice. It was in October of 2015 when Connie Ridgeway was found dead inside her Meadowlands apartment in Rogersville. To date, several interviews have been conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation, but no arrests. Friends of Ridgeway left a memorial up outside of her apartment […]

  • “She liked the underdog”; Florence attorney remembered in ceremony

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – It’s been a difficult week for friends and family of Florence attorney Jean Darby.  She passed away over the weekend after collapsing inside a Lauderdale County courtroom earlier in the week. Thursday afternoon, friends and family met in the same courtroom to remember her. A candle and simple flower arrangement at the courtroom door sat as a fitting tribute to Jean Darby. Many described her as a passionate person, one who cared deeply about those in need. “We […]

  • Since opening, One Place has served thousands in NW Alabama

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The battle to free victims from domestic violence took a giant step forward in northwest Alabama just three years ago. The community banded together to open One Place of the Shoals, a family justice center. The agency’s commitment is changing lives. Behind the secure door at One Place of the Shoals, the first step to taking back one’s life begins.   “Often times, people who are in an abusive relationship, they’re abuser is a controller and they […]

  • Shoals animal shelters full; running adoption specials

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – A crisis is brewing across the Shoals. There are so many stray animals in shelters, one has declared it can’t take any more in. Written in bold print, the sign on the front door of the Colbert County Animal Shelter says “No Intakes”. “We’ve been full for maybe the past three weeks, month maybe. It’s never-ending. If we adopt out three, we take in five,” Colbert County ACO Anthony Wilbanks described. Shelter employees are putting the […]

  • Man accused of killing retired corrections officer in Florence found guilty; attorney still in “poor” condition

    FLORENCE, Ala. – One day after his attorney collapsed in court, a jury has found Alfonso Jarmon guilty of murder. Late Thursday, Judge Self appointed two attorneys to represent Jarmon during the remainder of the trial, as Jean Darby continues to be treated at ECM Hospital in Florence. During her closing arguments Thursday morning, Darby fell and lost consciousness. Friday morning began with an attorney conference in Judge Gil Self’s chambers. When details got worked out, the jury was brought […]

  • Florence police searching for robbery suspect; Sex offenders wanted

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Investigators need the public’s help in finding a robbery suspect caught on camera in Florence. On September 29th, Florence police said a man spent several minutes in a store aisle stuffing items into a plastic bag. Security members of Walmart on Cloverdale Road watched as he was trying to hide the items. When he tried to leave, security met him at the garden center exit. While they were trying to keep him from leaving the suspect pushed the […]

  • Florence attorney remains in poor condition after courtroom collapse

    FLORENCE, Ala. – An attorney representing a murder suspect had a major health emergency in the midst of her closing argument Thursday morning. Florence attorney Jean Darby was just a couple of minutes into her closing argument when she lost her balance. As she tried to gather herself, she collapsed and lost consciousness. Since Monday she has been defending murder suspect Alfonso Jarmon during his murder trial. As Darby began her closing she remarked to the jury about how tiring […]