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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
  • Shoals “Litter Tournament” planned for Saturday

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Here in north Alabama, hundreds of fishing tournaments are held each year. And why not, we have some of the best fishing spots in the country. The Tennessee River offers some million-dollar views. Fishermen from all over the world come here to fish the waters. Members of the Yuchi tribe have called it the river that sings. “This river is very important to our economy, and our way of life, and our quality of life,” explained Rachel […]

  • Russellville PD and multiple agencies searching for theft suspects

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Law enforcement agencies across north Alabama are looking for two theft suspects. One of the duo has been caught on camera cashing a forged check. They struck again in Russellville early Thursday morning. One would wonder, does crime really pay? Over the last week, Russellville police say this woman is partially responsible for numerous car burglaries. Her accomplice hasn’t been caught on camera yet. Here she is cashing a stolen check with a forged signature in Madison. […]

  • Rogersville VFD remembers fire fighters killed in 9/11

    ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – It’s a day in history no-one will every forget. Sixteen years ago when the U.S. was attacked on it’s own soil, hundreds of first responders died while saving others. “That day they had no idea that this would happen. Within a matter of seconds, 343 lives were lost,” said Morris Lentz, Assistant Fire Chief at Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department. Men and women like Kevin O’Rourke and Michael Cammarata, fire fighters who ran toward harms way. They are […]

  • Car break-ins on the rise in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The City of Florence is seeing a sharp increase in the number of burglaries, and law enforcement say citizens are not helping themselves in trying to stop them. Normally they strike in the middle of the night, thieves check vehicles looking for an opportunity to steal. “We’ve had more concentrated areas that have been broken into; three different locations in the city that had multiple cars in that same location,” stated Sgt. Greg Cobb with Florence Police […]

  • Law enforcement and Alabama Music Hall of Fame prepare for auditions

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – It’s the calm before the storm. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame is being thrust onto the national stage Thursday with auditions for American Idol taking place in Tuscumbia. The marquee is already flashing auditions are coming. Several thousand people are expected to come from all over the southeast. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame will be getting a lot of attention. “This has been a big whirlwind. It started about three months ago and you know […]

  • Coon Dog Cemetery among most unique Labor Day events

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – It’s one of the most unique Labor Day events anywhere in the country. Hundreds if not thousands of people trek into the backwoods of Colbert County to celebrate the coon dog. “Squeak”, “Bear”, and even “Hank” made it into one of the most coveted cemeteries in the country. 80 years ago Key Underwood buried “Troop” here on his favorite hunting land deep in Freedom Hills. Visitors from all over the country come here – paying homage […]

  • What to do with Veterans Park in Florence? City is conducting survey

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It’s a city park in Florence which has fallen into disrepair. City leaders didn’t want to spend any money on Veterans Park because of the chance of building an attraction there. More than ten years ago this “Campground Closed” sign went up. Camping was shifted to McFarland Park in anticipation of clearing the property. When the Retirement Systems of Alabama project came to the Shoals, the park was to get an attraction to draw in visitors. With […]

  • Shoals Public Park Authority votes to give RSA millions for conference center improvements

    Florence, Ala. – It’s a project which has been called a game changer for northwest Alabama. But for more than ten years it has been hampered by the final piece of the puzzle. Shoals leaders have said the stars aligned to get the investment project completed in the early 2000’s. The Retirement Systems of Alabama invested tens of millions to build a luxury hotel and the Robert Trent Jones golf course. RSA even remodeled the Florence Conference Center after leasing […]

  • Florence police seek identities of forgery suspects

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Law enforcement across two states need help identifying three theft suspects. The crooks were caught on surveillance cameras getting money which didn’t belong to them. In late July, three people shuffled across northwest Alabama and southern Tennessee cashing stolen checks. Six police departments need help getting them behind bars. Over a three-day period, two men and a woman went into the same store in Florence cashing forged checks.   They’ve racked quite a few charges and its […]

  • UNA forced to postpone season opening football game

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Last season, a hurricane cancelled one of UNA’s football games in Florida. Getting ready to kick-off this season, Harvey forced UNA to move their game scheduled for Thursday night. The sidelines at Braly stadium will remain empty on what was supposed to be the kick-off to college football this season. Just before noon Thursday, UNA made the decision to pull the plug. “With the unknown of the weather coming in, the severity, we didn’t know if there […]

  • UNA’s Phi Gamma Delta house damaged by fire; not a total loss

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Twenty-four hours after fire ravaged a fraternity house on the UNA campus, there’s optimism at the site on Thursday. The Phi Gamma Delta home received extensive damage, but it doesn’t appear the home will be a total loss. “It’s a little devastating to see some of your memories go up in flames,” FIJI Alumnus Chris Brink stated. Brink could hardly watch as fire fighters battled the blaze Wednesday. With the smoke cleared out on Thursday, the charred […]

  • Former UNA athletic trainer charged with sexual abuse

    FLORENCE, Ala. — Another allegation of sexual misconduct has come out of the University of North Alabama Wednesday. This one involves an indictment handed down against a former athletic department employee. Nicholas Alexander turned himself in at the Lauderdale County Detention Center, charged with sexual abuse. Prosecutors say Alexander was indicted for having inappropriate sexual contact with a student athlete. University of North Alabama officials say allegations were brought to their attention in March. It was at that point the university […]