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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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    Crews find body of missing swimmer in Lauderdale County

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Search crews have found the body of a swimmer who went missing in Pickwick Lake on Monday afternoon. Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency Director George Grabryan says crews found Nicholas Jeremy Smith’s body on Wednesday about 9 a.m. near the mouth of Yellow Creek on the Tennessee River. Smith, 36, was from Memphis.  Grabryan said the man jumped off a pontoon boat on Monday afternoon, swam around for a few minutes, then never resurfaced. Agencies from […]

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    Shoals authorities investigate social media pictures depicting possible animal abuse

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. — Multiple police agencies in the Shoals are investigating a bizarre social media post. Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray said he started getting calls at home on Sunday night about outraged locals calling in about what a Sheffield man posted on social media. And the pictures in question– even Chief Ray called shocking. “The puppy was in his lap, pointing a gun to the puppies head. There were some comments made that you know I certainly don’t want to […]

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    Florence Police seek help in identifying robbery suspect

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police are looking for leads in the robbery of a convenience store. In the early morning hours of August 17th, the man walked into the Kangaroo gas station on Cox Creek Parkway demanding money from the clerk. Detectives said despite covering his face, there are still some clues to his identity. If you look closely, his left forearm is covered in tattoos. Although there were no injuries, police said the robber got away with more than $100. Florence […]

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    Joint operation nets arrests and surprising amount of ICE in Franklin County

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – A drug investigation in Franklin County is winding down numerous arrests and what authorities call ‘a surprising amount of drugs and guns’. Authorities there said the investigation started as an everyday patrol call and snow-balled from there. This investigation involves likely the most potent drug on the streets at the moment, ICE or crystal meth as some know it. “Usually what we used to see was ounces, small personal use type stuff,” stated Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver. […]

  • Police are investigation something off the side of Helton Drive, just near the exit to Florence Blvd. on the northbound side. (Photo: Carter Watkins/WHNT News 19)

    Police investigating body found on side of Helton Drive in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Florence Police say state workers have found a body along Helton Drive, near the exit to Florence Boulevard. The northbound direction of Helton Drive is down to one lane in this area. Police were called to the area about 10 a.m. Thursday.  A crew of Alabama Department of Transportation officials were cutting grass in the area when they discovered what they thought to be human remains. Officers who responded to the scene confirmed that fact. Officers say the […]

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    Lawsuit filed against former Colbert County children’s pastor and church

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. — A lawsuit has been filed this week in Colbert County against a church and its former children’s pastor, who has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting children in the congregation. The suit has been filed by one of the victims who alleges years of sexual abuse. A 10-page lawsuit filed in Colbert County Circuit Court names Jeffrey Dale Eddie and Highland Park Baptist Church as defendants. The lawsuit contends both Eddie and the church should be held responsible […]

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    Florence opens medical center for city employees

    FLORENCE, Ala. – In a partnership, the city of Florence has created a health and wellness center for employees. Since opening their doors on Tuesday, every 20 minutes a city employee has been seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner. CareHere and the city partnered to open the first center of this type in the Shoals. Mayor Mickey Haddock said they have been studying the concept for more than a year. “We finally decided there was enough information out there […]

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    Commission forced to take strong look at new Lauderdale County Detention Center

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The warning bells have been rung in Lauderdale County. Jail overcrowding has reached the point in which a plan has to be instituted, or more prisoners will have to be released. In 2015, the Lauderdale County Detention Center averaged more than 220 inmates a day. During a recent fire marshal inspection, the jail was housing more than 260. Trouble is the detention center was only designed for 203. In the spring, Sheriff Rick Singleton suggested to the […]

  • Corey Dorsey (Photo: Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office)

    Sex offender caught on campus of Brooks High School; had been doing electrical work at Lauderdale County Schools

    KILLEN, Ala. – The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office says a school resource officer caught a registered sex offender on the Brooks High School campus Thursday.  It turns out the man has worked at a few schools in the area recently, doing electrical work. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Brooks School Resource Officer Johnny Morrow saw a vehicle on campus yesterday and found Corey Dorsey, who is employed by PG Wells Enterprise as an electrician. The company has a contract with […]

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    Theft suspect sought after hitting a Muscle Shoals car wash

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Police and an anxious business owner need help identifying a possible theft suspect. Early Monday morning, cameras caught the man driving the silver Nissan pictured breaking into a change machine at PawnDaddy on South Wilson Dam Road. The car pulled up just after 8 a.m. and actually circled through a couple of the stalls. Their biggest lead at this point is the silver Nissan. It’s either a Altima or Maxima. The business owner said this is not […]

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    Shoals residents asked to help flood victims in Louisiana

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Five years ago this past April, a nation rallied around Alabama after tornadoes ripped through several communities. Local volunteer organizations are now rallying behind Louisiana, spearheading supply drives for them. Days after an EF5 pushed through Hackleburg, Phil Campbell and on through north Alabama, a warehouse in Russellville began to fill up with supplies. The United Way of Northwest Alabama helped organize efforts then to help residents. Executive Director Beth Haddock said it’s time to help those […]

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    Who killed Elbert Davis remains a mystery to Tuscumbia Police

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Four years ago, an 88-year-old Tuscumbia man was found dead in his home, the victim of homicide. Since that hot August day, police have worked daily to bring the people responsible for Elbert Davis’s death to justice. He was an avid golfer and a friend to everyone who knew him. That’s what makes Davis’ death so tragic. “A person who had done so much for this community, to have his life taken senselessly and it’s one of those things; it’s […]