• Follow me on:

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
  • Fourth complaint filed about illegal dumping of UNA debris

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Since August, several complaints have been filed about a sub-contractor illegally dumping debris from a demolition site at the University of North Alabama. Another complaint was recently filed six weeks after the original complaint was made. Demolition of UNA’s Floyd Hall began mid-summer and continued into September. The university is making way for a new College of Nursing. Complaints started being filed with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management about where the debris was going on August […]

  • Authorities conduct death investigation after skeletal remains were found in Colbert County

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – The Colbert County Sheriff confirmed that a death investigation is underway on Elledge Loop, just east of Muscle Shoals. Sheriff Frank Williamson said that a badly decomposed body was discovered by a home-owner Monday evening, just yards from the home.  The owner told police she had noticed an odd smell for several weeks and had been searching the woods for the source. “The way she described it, she said that it had been smelling, she had been […]

  • Almost 100 illegal drug arrests made in Franklin County; sheriff surprised

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. – It’s the first time the Franklin County Sheriff ran the numbers. Sheriff Shannon Oliver knew there had been several drug-related arrests over the last several weeks, but he had no idea just how many they had made. “It was surprising,” stated Oliver. “I know there were a lot of days and nights that there was not a lot of rest.” Each morning Sheriff Oliver reads over the arrest logs. Late last week he decided to crunch […]

  • Colbert County, Sheffield City authorities work together in early morning warrant roundup

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Knocking on doors began just before sunrise Friday morning across northwest Alabama. Law enforcement agencies were serving arrest warrants – the results of lengthy drug investigations. It’s being called one of the largest arrest roundups in recent Colbert County history. Both the Sheffield Police Department and Colbert County Drug Task Force have been working parallel drug investigations for months. Every available law enforcement agency in northwest Alabama fanned out, aiding one another in serving arrest warrants. Sheffield […]

  • Russellville police continue to seek identity of forgery/theft suspect

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – For more than a month, a woman has been evading arrest in north Alabama. Russellville police say she and a companion are behind numerous thefts and forgeries. Law enforcement agencies from Madison to Russellville are trying to figure out who this lady is. They have numerous bank photos of her, cashing stolen checks. Russellville police say she’s been driving several different vehicles, all of them using a stolen license plate. Investigators say she and an accomplice have […]

  • Friends remember Florence hit and run victim

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Residents of an apartment building in Florence continue to mourn the loss of one of their own. Kevin Doherty tragically lost his life Friday night when he was struck by a vehicle, the driver of which fled the scene. With only 16 residents, everyone at Dogwood Terrace Apartments in Florence is like family. So when they got the news Friday night Kevin Doherty had been hit by a car, they were all shocked. Pam towns said Kevin moved […]

  • New middle school campus on schedule in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It took months to get the project off the ground, now the new Florence Middle School is quickly progressing, but contractors have met a few challenges along the way. From Sky19 you get a much better idea of just how many workers are on-site. Concrete block walls are quickly going up on the northern side of the campus. On the southern end foundations for the new school are being poured. “We’re 23 percent complete on the facility, […]

  • Thieves caught on camera stealing cars in Muscle Shoals

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Caught on camera! Two men need to be identified for stealing two cars from an auction house in Muscle Shoals. In the early morning hours of September 28th, these two guys managed to gain access to the car lot at North Alabama Auto Auction in Muscle Shoals. According to Muscle Shoals police, they managed to get two cars started, but ran into some problems when trying to steal them. Their predicament – a gate stood between […]

  • Colbert County man pleads guilty in conspiracy to kill teen

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – He stood accused of setting up a meeting which ended in the murder of a Tuscumbia teen, this week he pleaded guilty. Set to go to trial in less than two weeks – attorneys for 21-year-old Devontae Bates helped orchestrate a plea agreement which could lead to a 20-year prison sentence. Bates was set for trial in Colbert County Circuit Court on October 16th. After discussing the plea agreement with the family of the victim, Kijana Freeman, prosecutors […]

  • Firearms training classes on the rise at Lauderdale County range

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — According to the latest statistics, Alabama ranks in the top ten of states whose households own a gun. With gun ownership comes great responsibility, and one of the biggest advocates for training in the Shoals is the newest shooting range. Cypress Creek Indoor Range’s co-owner Gene Schrieber spent his first career as a law enforcement officer. He wanted this facility to be different from the others. Since opening their doors in May, this gun range in […]

  • City changes what items can be dumped into Florence Landfill to meet new federal regulations

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Residents in the city of Florence will be noticing a change in what items will be picked up curb-side this week. Federal regulations have changed in what is allowed to be discarded in the Florence Landfill. It’s something residents have done for decades; when they are done with an appliance or piece of electronics they toss it out by the street. Until now, most of those items ended up in the Florence Landfill. “People are used to […]

  • Committee recommends that pay for Florence public safety employees be compared to other departments

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Just over a month ago a bombshell was dropped on the Florence City Council Public Safety Committee and mayor. The police and fire departments are losing employees at an alarming rate because of pay and benefits. The groups sat back down Monday to discuss solutions. The tone of the meeting Monday was quite different from August 23. The initial shock of losing so many city employees due to pay has soaked in. Committee members have looked toward […]