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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
  • City leaders exploring how to lure major developments to Tuscumbia

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – It was a promise made on the campaign trail, and now city leaders in Tuscumbia are following through. They are exploring ways to develop an under-utilized corridor. U.S. Highway 72 is one of the busiest roadways in Colbert County. Tens of thousands of cars travel it every day. There are several small businesses along the highway in Tuscumbia, but Mayor Kerry Underwood would like to see some major developments. “We have our historic downtown; the walkability, the […]

  • Colbert County teen arrested, charged with drug trafficking

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Police are calling it one of the largest single drug seizures in recent history. A Muscle Shoals teen has been arrested, and police said he may be in danger. Sheffield police said the seizure began as a suspicious vehicle call on 12th Avenue. When they pulled the vehicle over early last Saturday, a 17-year-old was behind the wheel. Chief Greg Ray said a strong odor of marijuana lead to a search. What officers found was two-and-a-half pounds […]

  • Search is on in Florence for theft suspect

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police in Florence need help identifying a theft suspect, he’s accused of spending hundreds of dollars on stolen credit cards. Surveillance pictures don’t get much better than this. Florence police are releasing it in hopes of finding this guy. He’s suspected of breaking into multiple cars on April 26th at the Courthouse Racquet Club on Helton Drive. Investigators said he then went to Walmart on Hough Road and spent several hundred dollars with the stolen credit cards. […]

  • Recent study shows Tennessee River adds billions to local economies throughout the valley

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A recent study has been released, taking a look at the economic impact of the Tennessee River. Sponsored by TVA, The University of Tennessee in Knoxville studied recreational spending and property values across the valley. Tens of thousands visit the banks of the Tennessee River in the Shoals each year. Whether it’s fishing, camping or pleasure boating dollars are put into the local economy. “When you think about what it means in terms of tourism and recreational […]

  • Taking Action/Getting Results: Tuscumbia resident fed up with neighboring eyesore

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – WHNT News 19 is Taking Action and Getting Results for a concerned resident in Tuscumbia. Jerry Crowden emailed WHNT – upset because an abandoned home is being neglected and becoming an eyesore for his neighborhood. For four years Jerry Crowden has sat and watched from his home on Oak Street as the grass and weeds grow on the property across the street. “Well I just want the property cleaned up and presentable to where it won’t ruin […]

  • Lauderdale County revamps Community Mental Health Officer program; names new coordinator

    FLORENCE, Ala. – State budget cuts in the treatment of mental health has placed a crisis in the laps of law enforcement. To meet the challenge, there’s a Community Mental Health Officer program in northwest Alabama which has the eyes of law enforcement agencies from across the state. On Monday, Sergeant Shane Blalock with the Florence Police Department was sworn-in as the new Coordinator for Community Mental Health Officers in Lauderdale County. Blalock will oversee a team of mental health […]

  • One arrested after overnight burglary spree in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Over night in Florence, patrol officers responded to numerous burglaries. Most of them were at businesses, concentrated within a one-mile radius. Beginning at 11 o’clock Thursday night, investigators said more than half a dozen locations were burglarized. “He typically went for a safe if the business had a safe. Went to the cash register, damaged it to get it open, looking to get some cash,” explained Det. Michael Price. According to Price, all of the businesses were […]

  • Florence memorabilia room opens to the public Friday for reminiscing

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Tucked away in a renovated classroom at Burrell-Slater School in Florence sits decades of history. It’s the history of the Florence City Schools, dating back nearly 200-years. “They absolutely love it. They (visitors) will stay for 2 or 3 hours just milling around,” explained Billy Ray Warren, Historian for the City of Florence. Warren said it was the brain-child of several alums who watched Bradshaw and Coffee High Schools merge into Florence High. The room proudly displays […]

  • Police need help identifying Russellville shoplifting suspect

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – The Russellville Police Department is trying to identify two people thought to be responsible for multiple thefts. They are releasing their pictures in hopes of putting them behind bars. This is one of the people Russellville police would like to identify. Investigators said she has visited a local grocery store several times, taking items out without paying. According to investigators, she may have been helped by this man. The surveillance photos were captured in late April. Be […]

  • Lions Club International President pays visit to Ivy Green

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – America’s First Lady of Courage called Tuscumbia Alabama home. The Ivy Green Estate is where Helen Keller learned to overcome deafness and blindness. In 1925 she stood in front of the International Lions Club Convention and implored them to join her quest. “She challenged us, the Lions, to become Knights of the Blind and we accepted her challenge,” stated Lions Club International President Bob Corlew. “Ever since then our work with those who are visually impaired has […]

  • Florence council votes to return stadium deed back to city school system

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Ownership of Braly Stadium will soon be back in the hands of the Florence School Board. The Florence City Council approved the return by the city, following almost 40-years of operations. Braly Stadium’s 15,000 seats have been the responsibility of the city of Florence since 1979. That’s when the Florence School Board put the deed “In Trust”. Allowing the city to borrow money on UNA’s behalf for improvements, and in turn the Parks and Recreation Department operated […]

  • Sheffield student suspended after teachers find “toy gun”

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – A Sheffield elementary school age student has been suspended from classes for the rest of the year. The school board action followed an incident in which the student brought a toy gun to school. Sheffield Schools Superintendent Keith Lankford said the incident happened at L.E. Willson Elementary. A teacher was tipped off a 5th grader had brought a plastic gun onto campus. Lankford said administrators quickly took action. “As soon as the teachers and principal heard word […]