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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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    Top 5 move on to finals in Shoals Alabama Launchpad competition

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Eight teams began Thursday morning in the Shoals competing for $100,000. The teams are made up of entrepreneurs who are trying to develop a new business. Six minutes, that’s all the time teams had to impress judges. Contestants pitched products they have developed and want to get to market. It’s a big deal for Shoals entrepreneurs to get this far. “The teams that are here, we really had to survive,” explained Alchemy founder Ashley Morrow. “Normally with […]

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    Shoals road departments ready for the possibility of Friday snow

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Transportation officials are keeping a close eye on the potential for winter weather over the next 24-hours. In northwest Alabama, they already started making preparations. Thursday morning the Florence Street Department loaded two spreader trucks with sand. Unsure what the weather will bring Friday morning, Street Department Director David Koonce made the decision to load up and be ready just in case. “We have a standard plan we use and revert to because these guys are veterans; […]

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    Concealed carry permits now available online in the Shoals

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Applying for a pistol permit in the Shoals has gotten a little bit easier. Residents in Colbert and Lauderdale counties can now apply online through their sheriff’s office website. With a few clicks on the mouse, followed by some keystrokes – you can request a pistol permit rather quickly. “This way you can sit at home and fill out the application online and submit it to us, and then we do the background checks,” Lauderdale County […]

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    Sears to close retail store in Florence Mall

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Residents in the Shoals will be losing a longtime retailer in just a couple of months. For more than 50 years, Sears has been a major retailer in the city of Florence. First operating in downtown, Sears moved to Florence Mall, anchoring the development for 38 years. City leaders got word of their closure this week. “We anticipated it was going to happen,” said Florence Mayor Steve Holt. “Going back to when the Sears/Kmart merger took place […]

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    Franklin County D.A. frustrated about 2017 state budget cuts to his office

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – The shortage of money in Alabama’s General Fund budget is taking a toll in many state-run offices. For years there’s been a group who has remained quiet about cuts, taking their lumps with every other agency. Cuts in 2017 are expected to all but paralyze several district attorney’s offices, including one in northwest Alabama. “It has really caused some major problems and a lot of loss in resources to our office,” Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing […]

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    Drivers beware; downtown Tuscumbia seeing crosswalks rebuilt

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – There’s a project underway in downtown Tuscumbia which may inconvenience drivers for the next week or so. City leaders have decided enough is enough; they are attempting to rid the city of bumpy crosswalks. In just one day, city workers in Tuscumbia tore up months of work. But there’s a reason for the demolition. A streetscape project completed years ago became a bumpy aggravation for drivers. “Problem is, through the years that they have done the project […]

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    UPDATE: Leighton Police charge man with attempted murder of wife

    LEIGHTON, Ala. – Police say a Leighton man has been charged in his wife’s shooting. Kenny Joe Waldrep is charged with attempt to commit murder.  He is being held in the Colbert County Jail on $150,000 bond. Waldrep’s wife was shot late Tuesday night in a mobile home on north Main Street in Leighton. Emergency responders say they were called to the residence just after 11 p.m. Tuesday for a person suffering a gunshot wound. Police Chief Brandon Hood said […]

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    Franklin County school experiences tornado damage from weekend storm

    VINA, Ala. – Crews are getting ready to clean-up weekend storm damage in Franklin County. The National Weather Service surveyed the damage on Monday, determining the storm which moved through to be a brief EF-0. Metal is strewn all over the campus of Vina School. Walkway awnings were shredded to pieces when high winds pushed through the small Franklin County town Saturday night. But as daylight returned, school officials noticed much more damage than first thought. “We’ve got several things […]

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    A relief fund has been setup for Colbert County victims of tornado

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – A Colbert County family is in desperate need of assistance after a tornado destroyed their family home. A few concrete blocks and 2×4’s litter the ground where Mary Brooks’ home once stood. An EF-2 tornado struck her Underwood Mountain Road home two weeks ago, injuring Mary and her son. Both remain in the hospital. “I think they are still taking it day-to-day, trying to prioritize what they need to do. There was some injuries, there was some […]

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    Police in Muscle Shoals take to social media to discourage holiday theft

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. — The Muscle Shoals Police Department is turning to social media to help discourage crime over the holidays. As people hit the shopping centers and department stores this holiday season, so does the criminal element. Muscle Shoals Police have a strong message to crooks: “If you’re going to steal, we prefer you not to, but if you are, don’t come to Muscle Shoals because we have zero tolerance,” stated Muscle Shoals Police Chief Clint Reck. Reck said he […]

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    Shoals veterans helped with applying for VA benefits

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. –  There is an organization that is trying to make sure that the men and women who have served our country get the benefits they deserve. Their weathered faces help tell their story. The majority of the veterans that gathered in Sheffield Tuesday morning spent time in Vietnam. “I’m a Vietnam War Veteran, and a wounded war Veteran, disabled Veteran, and we have a lot in here also that’s not getting their fair share,” explained Commander Jessie Qualls […]

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    Fourth sexual assault victim files suit against traveling petting zoo in Lauderdale County

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The parent of a fourth alleged victim has filed a lawsuit against the owners and operators of a traveling petting zoo in Lauderdale County. Just over a week ago, three families filed suit against Jungle Safari, for employing a man who stands accused of inappropriately touching half a dozen small girls. Court records indicate the latest suit was filed in Lauderdale County Circuit Court on December 9th. The nine page document represents yet another victim who police […]