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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
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    Governor makes new appoint to Lauderdale County Commission

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – A Florence Police Officer has been tapped to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Lauderdale County Commission. Governor Bentley made the decision after interviews with several candidates. With the appointment this week, the Lauderdale County Commission will take on a different look. For the first time in history, the commission will be made up of all Republicans. “I’m nervous, but I think it’s a nervous excitement,” explained Lauderdale County Commission Appointee Brad Holmes. Holmes, a Sergeant […]

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    Florence’s American Legion celebrates Veterans and milestone

    FLORENCE, Ala. – There was a celebration of veterans of a different sort today in Lauderdale County. Did you know the American Legion Post in downtown Florence has great significance in the state of Alabama? Thousands pass the brick building every day. Underneath the American Flag, sits American Legion Post 11. The walls inside the banquet hall are lined with memorials. “A lot of the artifacts inside the building we didn’t actually buy them, they were donated to us by […]

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    New surveillance pictures released in Florence robbery

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police are releasing additional surveillance pictures of an October robbery in hopes of catching the suspect. During the early morning hours of October 25th, a robber walked into the Kangaroo gas station on Cox Creek Parkway. With a gun in hand, the robber demanded cash from the clerk behind the counter. Florence investigators have had a tough time trying to figure who the man dressed in all black is. They hope these new surveillance pictures will land […]

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    Authorities in Lauderdale County join forces like never before

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The partnership between two law enforcement agencies in the Shoals has taken a big step. When it’s a major incident, it doesn’t matter what color your uniform is. The bottom-line, law enforcement officers join forces to battle crime. Since taking office nearly two years ago, Sheriff Rick Singleton and Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler have worked to unite the agencies. “We’ve got a great working relationship right now with Florence PD. We have joint roll calls together; […]

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    Shoals dentistry offering free services for veterans on Nov. 11

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – In celebration of our nation’s veterans, a Muscle Shoals dentistry office is offering free services to veterans on Friday. Ryerson and Associates Dentistry on East Avalon Avenue will be giving veterans one free service, whether it’s a cleaning, filling or extraction. Appointments are not needed.  It’s a first come, first served event. Veterans must bring a military ID, or a DD-214 or NGB-23 form.  The practice is located at 1013 Avalon Ave, Muscle Shoals, AL 35661.  

  • Pictured: Jessica Lynn Hudson and John Starling Heath III (Provided by Colbert County Sheriff's Office)

    Colbert Co. Sheriff looking for 2 people believed to be involved in shooting in Leighton

    LEIGHTON, Ala. – The Colbert County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help to find two people they say were involved in a shooting on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The incident stemmed from an altercation on Cottontown Hill Lane in Leighton. The Sheriff’s Office is looking for Jessica Lynn Hudson and John Starling Heath III.  Authorities consider them armed and dangerous. Hudson is 5’4″, has brown eyes and brown hair with a pony tail and weighs about 120 pounds. Heath is 5’11”, […]

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    School system enhances security at campus polling places in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – School systems across the valley have been developing plans to deal with security at school polling places Tuesday. In Florence, schools have been used as polling places in the city for years. Although there has never been an issue, Superintendent Janet Womack has seen the unrest across the country and decided to step up security measures. “We do not live in the same environment and the same climate today as we did maybe 20-years ago when schools […]

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    Florence residents have new leadership in City Hall and City Council

    FLORENCE, Ala. – There are several new faces in Florence municipal government. It was standing room only inside the Florence City Auditorium Monday as elected officials took the oath of office. Incoming mayor Steve Holt was the first to be sworn in. Holt said there is a lot of unfinished business from the previous administration, and he plans to get those projects completed. He says getting a new animal shelter up and running is at the top of his to-do […]

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    Haddock reflects on his only term as Florence Mayor

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The political landscape in Florence is set to change Monday morning with a new mayor and three new council members set to be sworn in. Friday morning, Mayor Mickey Haddock finished packing up after four years in office. He spent two weeks gathering up the memories. “There’s going to be a hole, but walking away, I can walk away knowing that financially we are in better shape than we were when I got here,” stated Haddock. “From […]

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    Burglary suspects identity sought by Russellville Police

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Police are working to identify a burglary suspect. Earlier this week someone broke into a store and got away with a bag of loot. Investigators said the person seen in the surveillance pictures burglarized Dollar General on Montgomery Avenue. Early Tuesday morning, investigators said the suspect shattered the front glass window to make entry. In and out in less than five minutes, police said the burglar grabbed two bag loads of cigarettes before running out. He’s described […]

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    Construction officially underway on new Florence hospital

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It took five years, but construction is underway on a new hospital in the city of Florence. Wednesday afternoon, dignitaries from across the state helped break ground on the North Alabama Medical Center on Veterans Drive. RCCH Healthcare Partners fought through the Certificate of Need process with the state to build a new 280-bed hospital in northwest Alabama. “There were times where it was a little bit discouraging, but we knew we would get to this point […]

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    Credille case bound over to grand jury in Muscle Shoals capital murder case

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala – Investigators have released new information in the Muscle Shoals shooting death of Jason Lee Fox in August. One of the suspects charged with capital murder appeared in court Tuesday morning for a preliminary hearing. Shackled in chains, Credille appeared in Colbert County District Court at 9 am. Prosecutors wasted no time diving into the relationship between Credille and Erica Fox.  She’s also charged with capital murder for the shooting death of her husband. Muscle Shoals Police Investigator […]