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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 educators are working with sheriff to get SROs in schools

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Security for students and staff in Colbert County schools has become a hot topic among county leaders. Visit most any school campus in the Shoals and you will likely see a patrol car near the front door. But that hasn’t been the case outside of Colbert County schools for some time. “It’s imperative that we move quickly and swiftly to get these resource officers in place so that our kids as well as the faculty and staff […]

  • Phil Campbell yearbook ad controversy resolved; Confederate flag removed

    PHIL CAMPBELL, Ala. – Parents and school system administrators have reached an agreement about senior picture ads deemed inappropriate at Phil Campbell High School. It’s these senior ads for Phil Campbell’s yearbook which got flagged by administrators. They deemed the images of the boy’s posing with guns as inappropriate. School leaders also thought Cody Morgan’s page with the Confederate flag over the American flag was desecration. “I wasn’t trying to do anything with the flag to dishonor anybody doing that. […]

  • Man accused of sexual torture against infant in Tuscumbia appears in court

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – We continue to follow what police call a disturbing case of infant sexual torture in Tuscumbia. Thursday morning the defendant appeared in court for a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors wasted no time calling the lead detective in the case to the stand. Tuscumbia Police Department Investigator Josh Aycock testified Nathan Bougher admitted to acts which led to him being charged with sexual torture. Bougher told police he did so to treat the 2-week-old for a rash. Investigators also […]

  • Florence Police attempting to identify burglary suspects

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police have released photos of two burglary suspects they need help identifying. Investigators believe they are responsible for multiple thefts. Florence Police Department investigators said the men may be responsible for burglaries which took place on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The crimes happened in the east Florence area. Investigators were able to get the images because the suspects used a stolen credit card from one of the thefts. Police are hoping someone can tell them […]

  • UNA students and teachers remember nursing grad found stabbed to death in Nashville

    NASHVILLE – A University of North Alabama nursing graduate has been identified as the young woman found fatally stabbed in her Nashville condo early Tuesday morning. Officials identified the victim as Tiffany Ferguson. She was an ICU nurse at St. Thomas West Hospital and had graduated from UNA in 2015. According to News Channel 5, police responded to the Wedgewood Park condo shortly before 6 a.m. Police said Ferguson’s roommate heard Ferguson scream, exited her bedroom, and found her stabbed. Surveillance […]

  • Parent: Phil Campbell High School rejects senior yearbook ads due to images depicting rifles, Confederate flag

    PHIL CAMPBELL, Ala. – Two families in northwest Alabama recently learned their yearbook pages purchased for their high school seniors won’t be allowed. The school says it’s because of what some of the photos show, but the parents of the students say there’s nothing wrong with the collages. Cathy Morgan spoke with WHNT News 19 today about the situation. She designed a page and purchased it for her son, Cody, who will graduate in a few months, paying $165. “I […]

  • Janet Womack out as superintendent of Florence City Schools

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence School Board voted unanimously to transfer Superintendent Janet Womack from her current position into the role of Special Consultant to the successor superintendent. She will remain an employee of the Board at the same pay rate and benefits until May 31st. According to Board President Bill Griffin, Womack will then serve as an independent contractor Special Consultant for the board and incoming superintendent until November 30th. Womack’s departure from the Superintendent’s position is effective at 5P.M. […]

  • Florence gas station robbed; police need help identifying suspect

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The search continues for a robbery suspect in Florence. Investigators are looking for leads which can help identify the bandit caught on surveillance video. Florence police said this week’s featured crime took place in the early morning hours of Monday. From the time stamp on the video, the robber entered the Kangaroo gas station on Cox Creek Parkway just before 2:30. Investigators believe the suspect is a man – who wore a hat and covered his face […]

  • School system moves forward with bid opening for Florence Middle School

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence Board of Education moved forward with opening bids Thursday afternoon for construction of a new middle school. Tension has been swirling around the project since UNA showed interest in purchasing the future site. As two o’clock arrived, the project architect for Florence Middle School cut open the bids. School system leaders said they received two fewer bids than they were expecting. “With all of the publicity and all of the negativity that’s been going on […]

  • Attorney blocks UNA request to assess Florence Middle School property

    FLORENCE, Ala. – An attorney representing the Florence city school system has denied UNA the opportunity to appraise and survey land which is set aside for a new middle school. We’ve been combing over a response letter from the school system attorney, who alleges UNA is attempting to begin a condemnation process. There has been a series of letters exchanged between UNA and school board attorneys in the last few days. The latest is a four-page response letter by the […]

  • NW-SCC adds partnership to benefit welding students after graduation

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – The career path for a skilled welder leaving the Northwest-Shoals Community College program just got a bit easier. Students completing the program will have the opportunity to walk into an apprenticeship program. “They’re not going to have to hunt a job as much and it’s not going to be as hard because they’ve got an opportunity laying there waiting on them. All they have to do is just step right into it,” stated Lin Liles, a […]

  • Former Russellville Mayor passes away; city remembers Johnny Brown

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – By order of a mayoral declaration, the American Flag outside of city hall had been lowered to half-staff. Mayor David Grissom said Russellville lost a great public servant Thursday with the passing of Johnny Brown. “He was the common man,” stated Grissom. “You were likely to see him working with the street department when he was Mayor, out behind the truck when the bad weather came.” Mayor Grissom said he knew Brown since he was a child. […]