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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
  • New President in place at Shoals Chamber of Commerce

    FLORENCE, Ala. – After a year of searching for a new Shoals Chamber of Commerce President, the seat has been filled. The board of directors did not go very far to get the person they were looking for. Inside the walls of the Shoals Economic Center, there’s a new leader at the Shoals Chamber of Commerce. A two-year employee of the chamber, Caitlin Holland recently switched to the president’s office. “It’s just wonderful and exciting to be able to work […]

  • City leaders to debate tennis complex in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence City Council has a big decision to make. They are weighing whether or not they will move forward with a competition style tennis complex at Veterans Park. For close to a year, there have been talks about building a 31-court tennis complex where four ball fields now sit. Florence Mayor Steve Holt said a feasibility study just returned. “I think the indication is going to be that certainly the community can sustain that number of […]

  • DNA leads to Lauderdale County burglary arrest

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Forensics has helped solve a 2016 store burglary in the Central community. According to the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office, DNA evidence left at Haddock’s Quik Stop on Highway 20 came back to a Tennessee man. Investigator James Bullock said Friday morning Marcus Orlandus Brown was taken into custody in Memphis last week. He has since been transferred to Lauderdale County. Brown is charged with burglary, criminal mischief, theft of property and receiving stolen property. Bullock said […]

  • Pharmacy burglars remain on the run in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The identity of a pharmacy theft suspect in Florence is still unknown. Almost three weeks ago, investigators got a clear shot of the suspect and they still believe someone knows this person. In the wee hours of May 22 at least two men broke into Fred’s Discount Store and Pharmacy on Florence Boulevard. With the alarm system disabled, the burglars spent a couple of hours ransacking the store. This is the best image captured by surveillance cameras. Although […]

  • Music Hall of Fame gets facelift thanks to inductee and volunteers

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – When you walk into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, you never know what you might find. Thursday afternoon the singing senator himself was serenading a group of ladies visiting the museum. Not only is Bobby Denton a long-time state senator, he’s a world-renowned musician and inductee. He’s also a pretty good project leader. “I was out here, and it was fun. I like construction and working on something you are passionate about. It was good for […]

  • ECM Hospital/UAB submits application for comprehensive cancer center

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A major health-care provider in northwest Alabama is wanting to expand services. It took RCCH HealthCare Partners almost five years before a new hospital in Florence started going vertical. Still 18-months from opening, the health care provider, which owns Eliza Coffee Memorial  Hospital, has turned their attention back to an original request to the state. Partnering with UAB, ECM wants to build a comprehensive cancer center.   “First, UAB has some protocols and resources that we don’t […]

  • American flags retired in Shoals ceremony on National Flag Day

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – For 240 years, the American flag has stood as a symbol of freedom. Men and women have died for the stars and stripes. June 14th is recognized as National Flag Day. Standing at attention in a field in Cloverdale, members of the American Legion Post 11 in Florence showed their respect as they got ready to retire hundreds of flags. “The American Flag means so much to me and all veterans and hopefully to all American […]

  • Doctors warn of risks associated with summer heat

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It’s mid-June in the south and time for hot temperatures and humidity. As the mercury rises, more and more people are exposed to the dangers summer brings. Among the most dangerous are dehydration and heat stroke. “Often times drinking more water up front and a lot of times you need liquids with calories as well because you use more glucose, you use more sugars,” Dr. Hamad Husiany with ECM Emergency Medicine explained. Doctor Husiany said don’t wait […]

  • Law enforcement officers across the Shoals head back to school

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Law enforcement officers in northwest Alabama are back in class this week. They’re participating in an Alabama Attorney General sponsored class to learn new techniques of investigation. Classes like these are a must for law enforcement officers now-a-days. Which is why more than fifty officers are in class, taught by the some of the top law enforcement in the southeast. One of the main topics Monday – technology. It’s constantly evolving, forcing law enforcement to stay ahead […]

  • Criminally negligent homicide trial begins in Lauderdale County

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A Lauderdale County man is on trial this week accused of causing a woman’s death in a car crash. In October 2015 a grand jury indicted Donald Keith Ray for criminally negligent homicide, just two months after the death of 88-year-old Virginia Sharp. Prosecutors and defense attorneys spent Monday picking a 12-person jury. Jurors will here evidence in the August 2015 wreck at the intersection of Mars Hill Road and Cox Creek Parkway. According to Florence police, […]

  • Children’s Museum of the Shoals reopens debt free and rejuvenated

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Opened in 2000, The Children’s Museum of the Shoals closed in 2015 while facing a mountain of debt and repairs. Eighteen months later, the board of directors has unlocked the doors once again. This is where childhood memories are made that’ll last a lifetime. Adorned by a giant catfish, the museum is a place specifically designed for kids of all ages. “Just a lot of very positive experiences and a lot of smiles (Thursday) when we opened […]

  • Bates murder investigation remains active in Tuscumbia

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – It’s been three months and still no arrest in the shooting death of a Tuscumbia man. Not a day goes by that Tuscumbia police said they don’t work on Derrick Bates’ case. In the early morning hours of March 9th Bates was shot outside of his Tuscumbia home. Investigators say Bates had just gotten home when someone approached him. That someone, police said, likely tried to rob Bates when the shooting occurred. According to investigators, dozens of […]