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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
  • Florence police release video of cloned credit card suspect

    FLORENCE, ALA. – Police have released surveillance video of a man accused of using a cloned credit card on a shopping spree worth thousands of dollars.Video shows him walking out of Walmart on Cloverdale Road in Florence with a shopping cart full of merchandise. Switch camera angles and we actually get a pretty good look at him. Investigators say he stopped at three businesses in Florence within an hour.  According to Florence police, he charged $2,000 worth of merchandise during […]

  • Florence PD K-9 unit takes top honors in regional competition

    Florence, Ala. – A member of the Florence Police Department has been named the best in the southeast region. He beat out dozens of others last week during trials – to get the distinction of being called “Top Dog”. “We’ve been working for almost three-and-a-half years now as a K-9 handler and team. We train almost daily,” explained K-9 Officer Chris Woods with Florence Police Department. And to watch it is nothing short of impressive. If Florence K-9 Officer Woods […]

  • Man found dead inside his Florence apartment, police seek public’s help

    FLORENCE, Ala. — Florence Police are asking for the public’s help with information regarding the death of a Hispanic man found inside his apartment. Florence Police Department says their patrol division responded to a medical assist call at 10:50 a.m. on North Wood Avenue, on May 2. When police arrived, they discovered Jose Elliott D’Leon dead inside his apartment. Florence PD says he is not from the area and very little information is known about him. “He had moved here, […]

  • Wesson sentenced to more than 200-years in prison for Florence child porn case

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A former Florence businessman convicted of possessing and sharing child pornography could spend the rest of his natural life in prison. Pete Wesson’s family sat in shock as Judge Ben Graves handed down the sentence. Graves stated he could show leniency, but he wouldn’t give Wesson any grace on his conviction. Pete Wesson has remained in custody for the last four months in the Lauderdale County Detention Center. Leading up to his April trial date, Wesson was […]

  • Franklin County bus fleet goes “Green” for next school year

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. – The mode of transportation for school bus riders in Franklin County is changing after this school year. The Franklin County Board of Education has taken a bold step to “Go Green” with their bus fleet. They are shiny and clean. More than 30 brand new school buses sit at the Franklin County bus barn, with more ready for delivery this week. “Cost-effectiveness and the safety issues that came with the new busses, I thought outweighed all […]

  • Man threatens to blow up ex-girlfriend’s home in Colbert County

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. — The Colbert County Sheriff’s Office was at the scene of a stand-off where a man threatened to blow up the home of his ex-girlfriend. Officials say Harold Wells announced the threat at a nearby venue called “The Point” located in eastern Colbert County. He claimed to have dynamite and a pistol. The brief stand-off began when deputies went to serve ‘Protection from Abuse’ documents on the suspect just before noon. Sheriff Frank Williamson says his deputies […]

  • Tuscumbia business raided; illegal gaming machines seized

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Authorities in Colbert County said they gave them every opportunity to stop the illegal activities. Friday morning, a multi-jurisdictional raid took place at a business in Tuscumbia accused of promoting gambling. One by one, gambling machines were unloaded into a storage facility in Colbert County. Just after 9 a.m., law enforcement executed a search warrant at the Fuel City gas station on U.S. Highway 72 West. Sheriff Frank Williamson says they have been watching the business for […]

  • Blevins murder remains unsolved in Lauderdale County

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. –  A family continues to hurt as the person responsible for a loved one’s murder runs free. Down a long dirt driveway in north-central Lauderdale County sits an empty travel trailer. Up until early March 8th, sheriff’s office investigators said it was where 62-year-old Tommy Blevins called home. The secluded spot sits about a quarter of a mile off County Road 94, north of St. Florian. According to investigators, a family member went to check on Mr. Blevins […]

  • TVA votes to restructure power rate formula for utility suppliers

    FLORENCE, Ala. – When we hear the word’s “power” and “rates” many of us cringe. The thought of paying more for power we consume – leaves an unsettled feeling in our gut. On Thursday in the Shoals, the TVA Board of Directors approved a restructuring plan for rates which completely changes how they sell power. Nearly 85-years ago TVA was created to bring power and prosperity to the Tennessee Valley. They’ve been able to fulfill their mission through the sale […]

  • First SRO patrolling campuses in Franklin County

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. – There’s been much talk about how to make schools safer during the most recent legislative session and on the campaign trail this year. But so far, there has been little action taken in Alabama to help schools, which is why some are digging deep to hire school resource officers. Franklin County Deputy Brent Wells says he has now gotten his ideal assignment. He’s patrolling the hallways and grounds of school campuses as the first School Resource […]

  • Florence neighborhood seeks help with speeders and stop-sign runners

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A Florence neighborhood has reached their breaking point. They are done with speeders and the other drivers who fail to obey basic traffic laws. “I taken videos of it, I’ve yelled and screamed,” exclaimed Petra Coppers. “My neighbors think I’m crazy, but somebody has to do it.” Petra Coppers is on a mission and her neighbors are right beside her. They live along West Irvine Street. For months they have watched construction workers from a nearby development […]

  • Search for Tuscumbia jail escapee approaches one week

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Shoals law enforcement agencies have been playing a game of cat and mouse with a jail escapee for close to a week. Tuscumbia police say it’s time to get escapee Justin Whitman behind bars for good. He was serving time for unpaid traffic tickets and a misdemeanor drug conviction; now Justin Whitman faces serious prison time after escaping from jail on May 1st. Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan said tips are still coming into the department with […]