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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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    Florence “First Priority” students gather to pray for a united country

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Students and administrators across the valley gathered around campus flag poles Wednesday morning before classes began. “See You at The Pole” 2016 was observed at school campuses across the country. As the sun rose Wednesday, the American flag in front of Florence High School was the first object to be illuminated. With dew still on the ground, students began to encircle “Old Glory”. The Florence Freshmen Center’s First Priority Club organized the schools “See You at The […]

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    New evidence located in the case of a missing Lauderdale County man

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Authorities in northwest Alabama continue their search for a missing Lauderdale County man. Tuesday night, deputies received a promising lead and went into the woods Wednesday morning near the Tennessee state line. As the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Posse searched the roadways and woods on County Road 178, Sheriff Rick Singleton could only hope they found Robert Childers. He was reported missing on September 19, three days after walking away from his home in the Cloverdale community. […]

  • Kenny Vega

    Tennessee man arrested for string of Lauderdale County burglaries

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police have made an arrest in connection to numerous home burglaries throughout Lauderdale County. Friday, officers responded to a neighborhood just off Cox Creek Parkway to a burglary in progress. When they got here, they captured a man crawling out of a window. At the time, they detained Brady Sanchez on charges of burglary and theft. Investigators believe he’s responsible for several other burglaries in the area. Once they began to dig into the suspects past, they […]

  • Jerry Franklin is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, as well as various drug charges. (Photo: Lauderdale County Jail)

    Police: Shoals man arrested for leaving two children in a hot car

    LEXINGTON, Ala. – A Lexington man was arrested over the weekend for leaving his children inside a parked car while he went shopping. According to Lexington Police, 24-year-old Jerry Franklin has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and various drug charges. Investigators say Franklin left his two daughters, one 6 months old, the other 4 years old, in a car outside a Lexington business. According to police, a person shopping at the same store spotted the children […]

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    Volunteers set to clean up Shoals waterways this weekend

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It’s a natural resource which draws thousands of people into the Tennessee Valley. But the Tennessee River is in need of the public’s help. On Saturday, residents of the Shoals are being asked to help walk the shorelines to clean it up. Native Americans call it the river which sings. The tranquil waters of the Tennessee River lure in tourists from across the world each year for various water sports.  It’s also the lifeblood for the Valley’s […]

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    Troopers continue investigation into Lauderdale County woman’s death

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Two years ago this week, tragedy struck on Alabama 20, just a couple of miles from the Tennessee state line. A 71-year-old woman was hit by a vehicle and died.  Authorities are still looking for the driver. It was just after 8a.m. on September 24th of 2014 and Wilma Darlene Carles was heading to get her morning coffee. Her daily quest took her across Alabama 20 in the Murphy Crossroads Community to D&R Hardware store. It […]

  • Robert Deshawn Childers was reported missing on September 19, 2016. If you have seen him, please call the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office at (256) 760-5757.

    Man missing since Sept. 19, last seen in northern Lauderdale County

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Authorities are looking for a missing man in Lauderdale County.  Robert Deshawn Childers was reported missing on Monday, September 19. He was last seen walking north on County Road 141, in the northern part of the county, north of Cloverdale. Childers, 51, has brown hair and blue eyes.  He is 6’2″ and weighs about 240 pounds. He was wearing blue jeans, a green long-sleeved shirt and brown cowboy boots. If you have seen Robert Childers or […]

  • Milagro, with a worker at Florence Animal Hospital on Tuesday before her surgery. Her right eye was bulging and was surgically removed the next day. (Photo: Shevaun Bryan/WHNT News 19)

    Florence Police make headway in animal abuse case; now say dog wasn’t dumped

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police say they’ve made headway in an animal abuse investigation that sparked earlier this week in Florence. Officers say the story has changed, and the puppy wasn’t dumped in a bag on the side of the road after all. The dog suffered severe injuries to her face and right eye, which was badly swollen and removed Wednesday in surgery. She was given the name ‘Milagro’ by workers at Florence Animal Hospital, which means ‘miracle’ in Spanish.  The […]

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    APOLOGY: Sheffield man under fire for holding gun to dog’s head says he’s sorry

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Was a man pushed to apologize because of public outrage over a social media post?  It sure seems that way. Both the Sheffield and Florence Police Departments have been searching for Zachary Wade Moore Jr. for over a week. In pictures posted to social media last week, Moore held what appeared to be a gun to a puppy’s head while holding the dog by the scruff of its neck. Local police wanted to talk with Moore, but it […]

  • David Bradley (foreground) reads over results while Hermon Graham looks on. (Carter Watkins / WHNT News 19)

    Recount nets same results in Florence District 3 City Council seat

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Elections officials in Florence held a recount in the District 3 City Council race Friday. The incumbent councilman requested the recount after results from the August election showed him losing by a 2-to-1 margin. For 20 years, Hermon Graham has represented the residents of District 3 in Florence. So, it’s been a little tough for him swallow losing his council seat by such a large margin in August. According to Graham, he originally requested a hand-recount of […]

  • Sheffield Police now confirm the man in these photos is Zachary Wade Moore, Jr. They want to question him, but currently don't have warrants for his arrest. If you know where Moore is, please call Sheffield Police at (256) 383-1771.

    Sheffield Police identify man in pictures holding gun to puppy’s head, ask for public’s help to find him

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Police in northwest Alabama have been under intense social media pressure to do something about photos showing a man holding a gun to a dog’s head. The photos were posted last weekend.  Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray said he started getting calls at home on Sunday, September 4 about local people who were outraged, calling police about this. Even Chief Ray called the pictures shocking. “The puppy was in his lap, pointing a gun to the puppy’s head. […]

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    Hubbard pleads not guilty in Tuscumbia teen’s shooting death

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – The man thought to be behind the shooting death of a Tuscumbia teen back in March appeared in court for arraignment Thursday morning. Thomas Hubbard, along with two other men, was indicted for capital murder just a couple of weeks ago. During Thomas Hubbard’s arraignment Thursday morning, attorneys may have outlined their defense within their plea. After the reading of the indictment, attorneys stated Hubbard was not guilty of capital, and then added not guilty by reason […]