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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
  • 052616 SACS 10pm PKG

    Lauderdale County deputies continue search for burglar

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – In late May, a burglar broke into a popular eatery, stealing cash and food. The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department is asking for help in identifying this thief. Just before midnight May 24th, investigators say this vehicle and the man inside spent several minutes casing Mama Jean`s Restaurant on Cloverdale Road. Investigators believe the vehicle the man is driving is a Buick sedan. After approaching the business twice, he broke out the front door. Once inside he […]

  • 062216 CO Sheffield Summer Hangouts 6pm PKG

    Police squash nuisance problems at Sheffield overlook

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) – For weeks, the Sheffield Police Department has been battling complaints at one of the city’s parks. It’s one of the most picturesque views in the city. At the north end of Montgomery Avenue sits the Sheffield stand-pipe, a historic water tower with an overlook of the Tennessee River. “Now this is a scenic overlook, but what are you going to see at three in the morning?” questioned Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray. “It’s dark, obviously — […]

  • 061716 LD Homeless Food Drive 5pm PKG

    Food levels have reached a critical mark for Shoals homeless population

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – With the sun bearing down and heat indexes blowing past 100-degrees, there’s a segment of the population struggling to survive.  The summer months can be just as detrimental to the homeless population as the winter. In the Shoals, a food drive is underway to help this growing population of residents make it through this crucial time. “It is a problem. It’s an issue, but we can solve it if we work together. So that’s exactly what […]

  • Florence Police

    Florence Police on the search for fake traveler check thief

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence Police Department is trying to identify the man caught on surveillance cameras, passing forged checks. He has hit several businesses across the southeast, spending lots of fake money. Take a good hard look at the man seen here in these surveillance pictures. They are from a major department store in Florence. This man, police say, used fake traveler’s checks to purchase nearly $1,000 dollars in merchandise. According to Florence Police, he has hit stores in […]

  • 061616 LD Florence Middle Campus 5pm PKG

    Temporary Florence Middle School assembly underway

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The summer months are normally a slower period for school systems, but not in Florence this year. The school system has three major projects underway, one being the construction of a temporary middle school campus. The parking lot in front of Hibbett Middle School is nearly filled to capacity right now. Not by cars, but modular classrooms. Workers have begun the process of setting up a temporary campus for seventh and eighth graders. “We just think […]

  • 061016 LD Construction Safety 6pm PKG

    Florence Police urge drivers to use caution in construction zones

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The number of road construction zones is rising along with the temperatures. As the sun bears down on them, construction workers along Tennessee Street in Florence are hard at it. Just a few feet away, cars zoom by. There’s orange construction barrels lining the street, but police say drivers normally disregard their meaning. And just because the sign reads 40-miles-per-hour, that’s probably not a good idea. “We encourage you to slow down. Just use common sense,” […]

  • 060916 SACS 10pm PKG

    Lauderdale County deputies search for ATV and thief

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Deputies are searching for a very unique ATV and the person who took it. This thing practically glows in the dark. A fluorescent green roll cage must have attracted a thief to Lannes West Drive in Killen on May 31st. According to the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department, the owner had the Polaris RZR chained to a tree in the front yard. That didn’t deter the thief. They cut the chain and pushed the ATV away. […]

  • 060916 CO Drug Bust 5pm PKG

    Colbert agents bust medical grade marijuana grower

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Law enforcement agents in Colbert County have made a significant bust in their fight against illegal drugs. Drug agents said it’s some of the highest grade marijuana they’ve seen. “We’ve been getting information over the years, and we just got enough information to obtain a search warrant,” stated Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson. Tucked away on LaGrange Mountain, Sheriff Williamson said his department and the Colbert County Drug Task Force have worked this case a […]

  • 060816 FR Kidnapping Arrests 2

    Man kidnapped, chained to a tree in bizarre Franklin County incident

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A bizarre, possibly life threatening situation has unfolded in Franklin County. Two men are behind bars, accused of kidnapping a man and confining him in a secluded area. Sheriff Shannon Oliver said the incident started at the Texaco Station on Highway 24 East, just outside of Russellville. Oliver said 35-year-old Steven Pennington and 32-year-old Nahum Garcia setup a meeting with the 50-year-old victim. When the three met, investigators said Pennington and Garcia beat the man […]

  • 060716 LD St Florian Traffic Light

    St. Florian leaders hope for the day they have a red light installed

    ST. FLORIAN, Ala. (WHNT) – Town leaders are growing increasingly frustrated with how long it’s taking to get a traffic light put up. During his four years as mayor of St. Florian, Don Strait has pushed to have a red light installed at the intersection of Church Road and County Road 43. “It’s been something that has been on my agenda every day that I come to work,” Strait said. “Every time I meet somebody outside, it’s on their agenda […]

  • 060216 LD Gold Room 6pm PKG

    Gold Record Room in Florence is set to open to the public

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – A salute to the rich musical history of the Shoals is set to open Friday night to the public. The Shoals Gold Record Room pays tribute to the people who put “Muscle Shoals” sound on the world map. “These songs that are known through-out the world that originated here, it’s unbelievable,” explained Marty Abroms, co-owner of the Shoals Gold Record Room. When Marty Abroms and Bill Lyons purchased the Suntrust Building in downtown Florence, they knew […]

  • 060216 SACS 2

    Lauderdale County investigators need help identifying theft suspect

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department is trying to identify a theft suspect. Investigators believe someone seeing this has the clues they need which will lead to the man’s arrest. On May 16th, the man seen in this surveillance picture made a couple of trips to Walmart on Hough Road in Florence. Trouble is, when he went to pay for his cart full of items he used a stolen credit card. His two trips rang up a […]


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