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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
  • Ten years later family and friends gather to remember AirEvac 16 flight crew

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Saturday has been a somber day for first responders in northwest Alabama. Ten years ago, a flight crew for AirEvac 16 crashed in the dense woods of Colbert County while searching for a missing person. All three souls on-board the aircraft died that morning. More than a mile from any paved road, a sacred spot in the Freedom Hills Wildlife Preserve is outlined by rocks. Within the circle, three stone markers hold the names of Tiffany […]

  • Be warned: Florence police will be out in-force this New Years weekend

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The numbers are jaw-dropping. Almost 10,500 people died at the hands of drunk drivers in 2016. Yet drivers continue to get behind the steering wheel drunk. In 2016, 28% of all traffic fatalities involved alcohol. Alabama ranked 12th on that list with 279. Traffic is already picking up on the thorough-fares in Florence. It’s expected to continue growing as the year draws to an end. Florence police say they were quite busy when they rang in 2017. […]

  • Sandwich shop burglars sought by two Shoals police departments

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Police investigators in the Shoals are looking for the people who broke into two businesses – in two cities – just minutes apart. During the early morning hours of December 20, at least two men broke into the Subway sandwich shops in Sheffield and Florence. These pictures were captured by the cameras in Sheffield. One of the burglary suspects can be seen strolling through the restaurant with little concern. With nothing to take but a bag of chips, […]

  • Shoals courthouse making changes to security personnel

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Changes are being made to the way security is handled inside a Shoals courthouse. Lauderdale County commissioners have given the sheriff’s office the go-ahead to change who is standing post. Over the past several years, subtle security improvements have been made within the Lauderdale County Courthouse. Cameras can be seen dotting the hallways and recently the first bailiff was assigned to the courts. “It’s sad that you have to beef up security like this. It’s just like […]

  • Florence Recycling Center set for upgrade in 2018

    FLORENCE, Ala. – While many people are still laid-back in their easy-chair relaxing from the holiday season, some folks are hard at work. They are starting to sift through mounds of recycled materials left next to curbs in Florence, but there is some relief in sight for these workers. It’s a highly choreographed operation. As trucks dump their loads, forklifts whiz through the Florence Recycling Center feeding the conveyor belt with paper, boxes and bottles. “This is definitely the busiest […]

  • Former UNA professor accused of sexually assaulting student files financial claim against university, seeking millions

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A former University of North Alabama professor named in a civil lawsuit which claims he sexually assaulted a student, is now filing a claim against the university. David Dickerson is claiming the university denied his due process and slandered him in local and national media. His claim has been filed outside of the traditional courts; the Alabama Board of Adjustment will handle the filing by Dickerson, which is asking for upwards of $7 million. In August, a […]

  • Law enforcement searching for Leighton burglary suspect

    LEIGHTON, Ala. – The Leighton Police Department needs help identifying a would-be burglar.  On December 1, surveilance footage captured someone attempting to breakiin to Leighton Pharmacy just before 10:45 p.m. In the video, you can see a Chevrolet Colorado extended cab truck drive through the frame.  The burglary suspect hops out of his truck and walks past the camera to the side of the building. Leighton police said the man stayed on the side of the building for a couple of minutes. […]

  • Dog found skinned, mutilated in Colbert County; animal cruelty investigation underway

    Warning: The content of this story is extraordinarily graphic. We are representing the facts of the case as clearly as possible to communicate the heinousness of the crime in question. However, be advised both the story and images attached are extremely hard to process. COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – A felony animal cruelty investigation is underway in Colbert County. According to animal control officers, a mutilated dog was found near a bridge in the far eastern part of the county off […]

  • Colbert County BOE creates foundation to give students/teachers more opportunities

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – The Colbert County school system is taking a new approach to getting what their students and teachers need. One Team – One Goal – Our Legacy, the mantra brought to the Colbert County Board of Education by Superintendent Gale Satchel. Since January, she has been working on ways to get more funds into the system beyond what the federal and state governments can offer. “With this money, we don’t have those stipulations or those strings that are […]

  • Complaint leads to strife between VFD and Littleville Town Council

    LITTLEVILLE, Ala. – Emotions came to a boiling point over the weekend between the Littleville Volunteer Fire Department and the town’s leaders. The fire department says the mayor has threatened to shut them down. This comes on the heels of an already strained relationship. The LVFD said the latest tension between Town Hall and the department stems from an unsubstantiated complaint. Department officials state there was a recent complaint by a resident stating during transport to a hospital a patient […]

  • Florence business closes doors after decades of service

    FLORENCE, Ala. – On Friday afternoon a Florence landmark closed its doors for good. After serving the Shoals for almost 50-years, the House of Vacuums went out of business. The larger than life red-lettered sign on the front of the building made it one of the most noticeable buildings in Florence. “I think the sign may be out of the zoning; I don’t know if you could do it again to put the sign up,” manager Bobby Linville said jokingly. […]

  • Florence ATV theft caught on camera

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Florence police have a full list of people they are searching for this week. The first is a theft suspect caught on camera stealing an ATV. The pictures are a bit grainy but probably good enough to solve this theft. During the early morning hours of November 23rd, a gray or blue van pulled into the parking lot of TriGreen Equipment on Florence Boulevard. Florence police say the masked man seen here stole a John Deere Gator […]