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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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    Lauderdale deputies hope pictures will aid in search for burglary suspects

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – On Tuesday, June 28, three men tried to use the dark of the night to burglarize a shed on County Road 8 in Greenhill. Little did they know, the home’s owner had them on camera. According to the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office, the men got away with $3,500 in tools. They’ve likely unloaded the three chainsaws, hedge trimmer and hammer drill at this point, but authorities would like to figure out who they are. And with these […]

  • 070716 CO Sheffield Downtown Demo 630pm PKG

    Sheffield challenges property owners to tear down or renovate

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – There’s pride showing up in downtown Sheffield once again. Sidewalks are filled with customers visiting recently opened businesses. It’s become a thriving economic hub. One block off Montgomery Avenue, the owners of a closed manufacturing facility have decided to tear down their once-thriving operation. They are making room for even more growth. “Their usefulness is kind of gone, and they were secure. They were boarded up, but I don’t think they were conducive to retrofitting for another business,” […]

  • Chris Faulkner

    Lauderdale County man jailed for talking victims out of cash

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A Lauderdale County man is behind bars for scamming numerous people out of thousands of dollars. Sheriff’s deputies said the man was quite convincing; but his own actions led them straight to him. We’ve all seen them when we go into a store – people pin cards on bulletin boards to help advertise their businesses. Investigators said Chris Faulkner preyed on those people for more than a couple of weeks. “Because he has been doing it for so long, […]

  • 070516 LD Community Scare 6pm PKG

    FBI, Florence Police identify those behind suspicious activity around churches and landmarks

    FLORENCE, Ala.  – With all of the unrest across the world, communities here in the U.S. are on alert for anything unusual. In the Shoals, church congregations have been rattled after unidentified foreign men came in, acting suspiciously. Every time the doors are open at area churches, visitors and parishioners alike flock in the front doors. But when some Arab men decided to attend services at more than six churches across the Shoals, concerns were raised. Church members saw the […]

  • Photo: Carter Watkins/WHNT News 19

    Fire destroys Shiloh Baptist Church in Lauderdale County; was built in 1883

    OAKLAND, Ala. – A Lauderdale County church, dating back to the 1880’s went up in flames Friday morning. As you can imagine, parishioners are stunned to see their church reduced to rubble. “It’s sad, it’s really sad to think about. There are so many memories here,” Birdia Bean explained. Bean is a third generation member of Shiloh Baptist Church. When she got the call her church was on fire Friday morning, she immediately started praying. “The congregation, we are still […]

  • 063016 SACS 10pm PKG

    Muscle Shoals investigators seek burglary suspects identity

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – On Saturday, June 25 investigators with Muscle Shoals Police said the man pictured to the right broke into a vehicle parked at Walmart. In broad daylight, he took a Verizon tablet, a purse worth $400 and other various items. Police identified him as a person of interest by reviewing numerous surveillance cameras. If you saw him checking out a black 2014 Kia Sorento and know who he is, police would like to hear from you. Florence Police have […]

  • Mark Montgomery

    Mark Montgomery sentenced to life for Lauderdale County murders

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Prosecutors described it as one of the most awful murders they have ever worked. Two years later, the man who has taken responsibility for the shooting deaths of two women has been sentenced. Standing before Lauderdale County Circuit Judge Mike Jones, Mark Montgomery was told when his lights begin to dim in this life, he will remain behind prison bars. Originally indicted on two counts of capital murder and aggravated animal cruelty, in May – Montgomery entered […]

  • 062916 LD Theft Ring Folo 2

    See Pictures: Lauderdale County investigators break up major theft ring, recover stolen items

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department has broken up a major theft ring which covered their entire jurisdiction.  The case took several months to crack, and now investigators are wondering who owned some of the items they’ve recovered. The items include rings, guns, even a pressure washer and hedge trimmers. The Sheriff’s Office recovered these over the last nine months. “It’s been a huge puzzle to put together, but it’s finally come to an end, we hope,” said Lauderdale […]

  • 062816 LD New Hospital Update 630pm PKG

    New hospital seeks pre-approval from Florence Planning Commission

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence Planning Commission met Tuesday evening to discuss the future of a new hospital in the city. It’s hard to imagine, but a massive concrete slab was once home to Brandon School and abandoned driveways led to countless homes.  Thirty acres of property have been cleared along Veterans Drive in Florence to make way for a new 280-bed hospital. “We are just thrilled that now we can start seeing some progress and the community will start seeing […]

  • 062716 LD UNA Downtown Parking 6pm PKG

    Downtown Florence/UNA parking woes may be solved

    FLORENCE, Ala. – After months of research and evaluating the numbers, the city of Florence is ready to tackle some parking problems. Between the midday hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. there are generally no parking spaces to be found.  Add several hundred students from the University of North Alabama spilling over into downtown parking spaces and the problem gets multiplied. “We’re not going to have the parking problem anymore, because the frustration in having to deal with it […]

  • (Image: Kijana Freeman's family)

    Third capital murder suspect appears in court for shooting of Tuscumbia teen

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – The third capital murder suspect and by some accounts, the shooter of a Tuscumbia teen, appeared in court Friday morning. Attorneys for Benjamin Young requested a preliminary hearing to see just what evidence law enforcement had on their client. Prosecutors wasted no time calling Tuscumbia investigator Wes Holland to the stand. Holland has worked the shooting death of Kijana Freeman since March 1st, the night Freeman was ambushed at Spring Creek Apartments. Holland said Freeman was expecting […]

  • 062316 FR Escape Attempts 6pm PKG

    Three attempt escape from Franklin County Jail; all caught immediately

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Twice this week, inmates in the Franklin County Detention Center have tried to make a run for it. Evidently 10-days in jail were just too much for Charles Burney to handle. Monday night, Sheriff Shannon Oliver said Burney climbed through the detention center duct-work trying to make it to freedom. Trouble is he exited right into the exercise yard. “As he came out of the vent on the outside, noticed something in the camera and as […]


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