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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, 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
  • 051216 SACS 1

    Florence investigators need help identifying theft suspect(s)

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Police are searching for a man who racked up quite a shopping bill on Mother’s Day. The bad thing is, he probably wasn’t shopping for his mom, nor was he shopping on his own dime. In surveillance video the suspect is seen strolling in to Walmart on Hough Road like he has no care in the world. Police said he had just stolen a credit card from a purse at Payless Shoes in Florence Mall and […]

  • 051016 LD Wood Avenue Paving 6pm PKG

    Florence must deal with roadblock before paving can begin on Wood Avenue

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – More than four years after the Florence City Council asked for state funds to rebuild and pave a major road, crews are set to begin. But first, the city must navigate around yet another obstacle. It’s one of downtown Florence’s prettiest streets, but Wood Avenue is plagued with issues. A drive down it is like a slalom course, dodging pot hole after pot hole. And that’s sort of how the city of Florence has felt in […]

  • 050916 LD Rogersville Storm Shelter 6pm PKG

    Rogersville uses alcohol revenues to make improvements for residents

    ROGERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – In 2012, citizens in the town of Rogersville approved the sale of alcohol in their town. At the time council members vowed to use the revenue from alcohol sales to improve the quality of life for its residents. Tucked in behind Rogersville’s Town Hall now sits a huge community storm shelter. Crews put the shelter in place last week. Before it’s operational, workers must install a restroom and back-up generator. Town leaders said this was possible […]

  • 050816 LD FLW Fishing Tournament 10pm PKG

    Florence fishing tournament nets income for winner and community

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Professional anglers have spent two weeks in the Shoals preparing for the Walmart FLW Fishing Tournament. All that prep work came down to two pounds over the four day tournament, $100,000 went to the winner Sunday. Every member of the top ten had nothing but praise for the fishing on Pickwick and Wheeler Lakes. “There’s some giant fish here. The smallmouth fishing, they got it all. The anglers love to come where they can get those […]

  • 050816 CO Hall of Fame Excitement 530 PKG

    Music Hall of Fame continues to see success since reopening

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – Nearly 26-years ago the doors of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame were opened to the public. Through their history, the museum has faced some set-backs. But since they reopened in 2013 things have turned around. The state of Alabama has a rich history in music. There have been many musicians, writers and producers who have called the state home. They are on proud display in Alabama’s one and only music hall of fame in Tuscumbia. […]

  • Lauderdale County Deputy Randall McCrary

    Lauderdale County Deputy returns to work 3 months after being shot

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – February 3, 2016, forever changed deputy Randall McCrary`s life. “I told God, if this is the way it`s going to be I`m ready to go. After that I was at peace and nothing really mattered,” recalled McCrary. He and three other Lauderdale County Deputies were serving involuntary commitment papers on a man suffering from mental health issues. McCrary was shot one time during a gun fight. The bullet went through his arm and entered his […]

  • Daryl Raymond Jr.

    Man arrested at traveling petting zoo in Florence faces new sexual abuse charge

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A 48-year-old man arrested at a traveling petting zoo in Florence last weekend now faces an additional charge of sexual abuse. Daryl Raymond Jr. appeared in court Friday morning for a hearing.  He is now charged with six counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12.  He remains in jail with a bond of $300,000. Investigators say the crimes happened April 27, 28 and 29th while Raymond worked for Jungle Safari, a traveling […]

  • mark montgomery

    Man pleads guilty to 2014 shooting deaths

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Lauderdale County District Attorney’s Office described it as one of the most awful murders they have ever worked. Late Thursday afternoon, the man being held responsible for the shooting deaths of two women pleaded guilty. With little emotion on his face, Mark Montgomery was escorted into circuit court. Facing trial and the death penalty in less than two weeks, Montgomery entered a guilty plea during his appearance. “That finality and surety of that certainly outweighs […]

  • 050516 MSPD Robbery 1

    Muscle Shoals authorities need help identifying a robbery suspect

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) – Police are searching for a man who reached into a cash drawer while the clerk was helping another customer. The crime was caught on surveillance camera, and investigators believe the public can help identify him. Just before 8pm on April 28th, the robbery suspect strolled into Walgreens on Woodward Avenue in Muscle Shoals. After picking an item off of a nearby rack, he headed to the checkout line. When the clerk opened the cash drawer […]

  • 050416 CO UAB Telemedicine 630 PKG

    UAB Doctor uses telemedicine to treat Colbert County dialysis patient

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) – A Colbert County woman is making history for medical treatment and technology. Something extraordinary is happening inside the walls of the Colbert County Health Department. Ellen McGowen is having a face-to-face visit, even though she is hours away from her doctor.  She’s the first patient to have a comprehensive dialysis check-up using telemedicine. “This has been the greatest thing to happen to me since I started dialysis. I have been a dialysis patient for five years,” […]

  • 050316 CO Murder Prelim 6pm PKG3

    New Details: Cases against Tuscumbia murder suspects headed to grand jury

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – Two men accused of murdering Tuscumbia teenager Kijana Freeman were in court Tuesday morning. Shackled and cuffed, Peter Capote and Thomas Hubbard were escorted in to the Colbert County Courthouse. During the hearing, Tuscumbia Police Investigator Wes Holland testified to the events which unfolded the night of March 1st at Spring Creek Apartments. Holland said under oath, informants led investigators to Benjamin Young, Peter Capote and Thomas Hubbard. Holland stated his sources told him Hubbard was […]

  • Daryl Raymond Jr.

    Petting zoo employee faces more child sex abuse charges in Florence; police suspect more victims may come forward

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – On Monday, more charges were filed against a petting zoo employee charged with sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. As the case against 48-year-old Daryl Raymond Jr. continues to evolve, investigators said more victims are likely to come forward. Monday morning, Raymond was escorted into Lauderdale County District Court for an initial appearance. Raymond is charged with five counts of sexual abuse of a child. Florence Police arrested him on Saturday after […]


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