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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
  • Capital murder suspect enters guilty plea in Muscle Shoals murder, must testify against alleged lover

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – A surprising turn of events in a capital murder case in Colbert County. One of three suspects accused of murdering Jason Fox has pleaded guilty. In a move which surprised most everyone, Ronnie Credille went to prosecutors wanting to plead guilty to capital murder. WHNT News 19 found the plea agreement within several court documents related to the case. In the agreement, Ronnie Credille entered a plea of guilty to capital murder. A second count of capital […]

  • Muscle Shoals man questioned and released in brother’s shooting death

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – A Colbert County man remains in custody following a shooting Monday night which caused the death of his brother. Investigators at the Muscle Shoals Police Department have been busy gathering facts in the shooting death. In a news release, Muscle Shoals police state 23-year-old Lonny Lee Logan sustained at least two gun shots wounds Monday night, he was pronounced dead at Shoals Hospital. The shooting happened at a duplex apartment on Roosevelt Avenue. Police say they […]

  • Local law enforcement happy with military surplus program reinstatement

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday President Trump will be issuing an executive order bringing back the 1033 Program. It puts military surplus into the hands of local law enforcement. One agency in northwest Alabama has benefited tremendously from military surplus. It’s not your typical patrol vehicle. Yes, it’s painted black and white with a light bar, but this Humvee fills a niche for Russellville police. Chief Chris Hargett got this one and several more through the […]

  • Food pantry needs help feeding Colbert County students

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – There’s an effort underway to make sure school children get the meals they need on the weekends. Organizers say the need is much higher than even they expected. Out of a small country church near Leighton big things are happening. The Lila Barnett Area Food Pantry is hosted by Mount Zion AME Church. Sheffield councilwoman Penny Freeman is a member of the congregation. “We live sometimes compartmentalized lives and we think that when children are smiling […]

  • Staffing of public safety employees in Florence at critically low levels

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Public safety divisions in the city of Florence are at critical staffing levels. During a committee meeting this afternoon, Police Chief Ron Tyler outlined the staffing issues his department is seeing. Shock filled the conference room as Tyler read off the numbers. Of the 110 sworn officers his department has, 26 are unable to perform their duties at the moment. There is a variety of reasons for the shortage. Some officers are on military assignment, retirements, extended […]

  • Debris from UNA demolition project brought back into question

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Days after a complaint was filed against an excavating company in the Shoals about illegally dumping debris from UNA, two more complaints have been filed. One of the new complaints names the same excavation company for unauthorized dumping. Slowly the remnants of Floyd Hall on the University of North Alabama campus are disappearing.  However, the issue of where this debris is going continues to be brought into question. The original complaint filed with the Alabama Department of Environmental […]

  • Russellville looks to clean-up vandalized cemeteries

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Vandalism is taking its toll on two historic cemeteries in Russellville. Local historians call it disheartening; people’s resting places all but destroyed. Dating back more than 200 years, Old Town Graveyard is the first cemetery in the city of Russellville and years of vandalism is evident through-out. “They have turned over the tall head-stones,” Chris Ozbirn described. “They broke some of them; they just tipped over and of course they break they are so old.” As the […]

  • Law enforcement say noose found at rural church being treated as a hate crime and a threat

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Strong words are coming from law enforcement following the discovery of a noose at a rural church; authorities in Lauderdale County are calling it a hate crime. “It’s not funny. If that was their intent, it’s certainly not. Personally, I’m treating it as somebody intended a threat. That’s the only way I can take it,” Sheriff Rick Singleton says of the discovery made Wednesday night. The sheriff says that it appears that while members of St. […]

  • Police hope creepy image of hooded suspect can help them catch truck thief

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Police are hoping to identify a car thief from earlier this month caught on camera. In the early morning hours of August 8th, a hooded person can be seen walking through an auto auction parking lot. Muscle Shoals Police say the person is a suspect in a theft case. According to investigators, the person under the hood stole this truck. It’s a blue 2003 Chevrolet 1500 pickup. The truck was parked at Shoals Northwest Auto Auction […]

  • UNA faces investigation from state environmental agency for illegal dumping of building debris

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A complaint has been filed with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) concerning a demolition site at UNA. The complaint states debris from Floyd Hall was not being taken to an approved landfill. B.H. Craig Construction Company based in Florence is the general contractor for demolition of Floyd Hall. According to a university spokesman, the construction company  sub-contracted with Gist Excavating for the removal of debris. For several weeks workers have been methodically bringing down the […]

  • Tuscumbia police search for attempted murder suspect

    Story update: Tuscumbia Police say Burress turned himself in Thursday morning. TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – A man hunt is underway in northwest Alabama. Tuscumbia police are looking for the man they have identified as opening fire at a busy convenience store over the weekend. Tuscumbia police say the shooting Saturday night was likely the result of a road rage incident moments earlier. Just after 10:30 pm two drivers stopped on W.F. Gardner Drive because the lead driver thought the car behind […]

  • Shoals unity groups hold vigil for Charlottesville after deadly protest

    FLORENCE, Ala. – On the heels of the horrific events which unfolded in Virginia over the weekend, unity groups in the Shoals came together and held a vigil Monday evening. “Some while say it’s time to make America great again. I offer you that America has always been great, because she is good,” said Ben Newbern to a crowd holding candles. Two groups are united in a cause. Newbern with “Equality Shoals” and Camille Bennett with “Project Say Something” say Monday […]