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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
  • Colbert County Superintendent gives commission options to help improve school security

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Often times great tragedy brings change. School security is being evaluated across the United States. A school threat last week in Colbert County got leaders looking for permanent solutions. As Superintendent Gale Satchel walked the halls of Cherokee High School last week the concern could be heard in her voice. Law enforcement was posted throughout the school due to a threat that was written in a restroom. “It took a lot of wind from me to […]

  • Former Franklin County Administrator under investigation; financial records subpoenaed

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. – State investigators are taking a deep look into the financial books of a northwest Alabama county. Franklin County officials are being tight-lipped about an investigation involving the state attorney general’s office and financial records. However, WHNT News 19 is being told the investigation centers around a former Franklin County administrator. “We have been contacted by the Attorney General’s Office requesting financial documents. We fully complied with the request. We have no details on the investigation,” stated […]

  • Franklin County students accuse photographers of inappropriate touching

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. – A sheriff’s office investigation is underway in Franklin County involving a local school. Students in two grades have told authorities they were inappropriately touched. Over the last two weeks, Sheriff Shannon Oliver said his investigators have been busy. They’ve interviewed numerous students at Tharptown School and have taken at least 11-reports from parents. Fifth and sixth grade students have said they were victimized while getting their school pictures made. “The reports we got, there were a […]

  • City council approves one new Florence fire truck; another out for bid

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The city of Florence has been in a crunch with an aging fire truck fleet breaking down. Tuesday morning, the Florence City Council made the first move to help. There’s an old saying “You never know what you might find – until you get started.” Unfortunately for the Florence Fire Department and their fleet of trucks, that seems to be ringing true. Over the last several weeks they’ve been bandaging the fleet. “It’s just so that when he […]

  • Date set for new Florence hospital opening

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Excitement is building across northwest Alabama when it comes to healthcare.  In just a few months, a new $250-million hospital will open its doors to patients. The landscape of east Florence has been forever changed. A community which was once struggling is now bustling with growth. It’s all because of the new North Alabama Medical Center. Two years ago, they started clearing the site. “We’re coming in ahead of where we said we would; which is an […]

  • Reward money increases for arrest in Colbert County opossum stomping death

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Last week, WHNT News 19 first showed you video of an unimaginable crime.  Animal control officials in Colbert County released video of someone stomping an opossum to death. The crime remains unsolved. Now, a national group has upped the reward to bring someone to justice. Colbert County Animal Control Investigator Anthony Wilbanks said his stomach still turns when he watches the video. He believes a Colbert County teen stomped a young opossum to death and someone caught it […]

  • Law enforcement increase presence at Cherokee High after threat

    CHEROKEE, Ala. – Educators and law enforcement in Colbert County dealt with a major disruption on Friday in Cherokee. Deputies, police officers, and state troopers were on the campuses of Cherokee High School and elementary early Friday morning. Peering through windows and walking the halls; they were on a mission. “We don’t want to cause panic, but we do want to take care of the situation,” stated Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson. According to Superintendent Gale Satchel, a student found […]

  • Colbert County mom taking traffic control into her own hands

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – There’s a Colbert County mother who has been frustrated and now she is on a mission. Her child escaped severe injury by mere inches as a vehicle hit a school bus and sped by the open door. The skid marks may have started to fade, but what happened on January 26th is still fresh on the mind of Rena Ussery. “As I got closer and I didn’t see my son, and I seen that truck in […]

  • Fatal wrecks on the rise in the Shoals

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – State Troopers in the Shoals have released some staggering numbers for 2017.  They have seen a sharp increase in the number of fatal accidents they have worked. It’s probably safe to say all drivers on the road never want to get into a wreck. But, do we do the right things to avoid them? Corporal Bill Burke with the Alabama State Trooper Post in the Shoals says no. “Used to be years ago, if a car crossed […]

  • Florence PD seeks identities of couple who passed fake $100-bill

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Merchants across the Valley are being hit with people trying to pass fake money at cash registers. One of the latest attempts was caught on camera this week in Florence. Normally you don’t see someone running out of Walmart after stopping at the cash register. But moments before the couple high-tailed it, they tried to pass a fake $100-bill. Florence police say the crime happened at the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Tuesday afternoon. According to investigators, the […]

  • Colbert County investigators searching for person filmed stomping animal to death

    WARNING: This video is very graphic and disturbing: TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – A case of animal cruelty is being investigated in Colbert County and authorities need your help identifying the person responsible. Video has surfaced of someone stomping to death a small animal. Within the walls of the Colbert County Animal Shelter, they deal with some of the worst cruelty cases to animals imaginable. On Friday, they received an anonymous email which disturbed even them. “It could be number one; it […]

  • Future educators at UNA voice concern over teachers packing

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama College of Education is a highly regarded program across the state and southeast; they educate – future educators. Thousands of students traverse the UNA campus daily. It’s an established gun free zone. Inside the classrooms of Stevens Hall, a debate is going on amongst the professors and also future teachers. Anna Grace Kiddy is a Junior, majoring in secondary education. “I don’t think teachers should have to have the responsibility of having a […]