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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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    Troopers investigate deadly wreck in Colbert County

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Alabama State Troopers are investigating a deadly wreck in Colbert County. It happened Wednesday about 5:30 a.m. on Baker Lane, south of Highway 72. Troopers say Stanley Alan Coan, 54, died when the 2008 Chevrolet HHR he was driving left the roadway and overturned. Troopers say Coan died at the scene.  He was from Tuscumbia.

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    Shoals residents rally around former UNA football player with blood cancer

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A true story of need right now in the Shoals; a need so strong it could save a man’s life. In October Justin Sappington, a husband and father of two, was diagnosed with Myeloid Dysplasia Syndrome. MDS is a blood cancer that keeps bone marrow cells from maturing into healthy blood cells. “Nobody knows the time because that is always the question,” explained Sappington. “You know, how much time do I have to make these decisions, and […]

  • Helen Keller Hospital

    Employees being cut from two hospitals in Shoals

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Two hospitals in the Shoals are cutting employees due to operational costs. Helen Keller Hospital and Red Bay Hospital say they have had to either reduce scheduled hours or eliminate positions at the two facilities, affecting a total of 22 staff members. “Although we hear and read about the issues of healthcare in Washington and Montgomery, unfortunately, the greatest impact of these issues is always local,” the hospitals said in a statement. “The economic challenge of rising costs […]

  • Nathan Bougher being escorted from the Colbert County Courthouse. (WHNT)

    Tuscumbia sexual torture suspect appears in court; hearing rescheduled

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. — A Tuscumbia man charged with sexually torturing an infant appeared in court Monday morning. But the hearing set for Nathan Bougher in District Court never happened. Cuffed and shackled, Bougher said nothing as he entered the Colbert County Courthouse. The preliminary hearing he was scheduled to have, rescheduled at the last moment. The 21-year-old was arrested earlier this month after doctors determined a 2-month-old was suffering from multiple injuries. Those injuries investigators said included spiral fractures […]

  • Pamela Lavette Littleton (Photo: Florence Police Dept.)

    UPDATE: Florence Police say missing woman has been found

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence Police Department says a missing woman has been found. Earlier Friday, they had asked for the public’s help to find 46-year-old Pamela Lavette Littleton.  She had not been seen since Tuesday. Fortunately, she’s been found.

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    Muscle Shoals Police continue to investigate 2015 double homicide

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – This week marks the anniversary of a horrific double murder in Muscle Shoals, which remains unsolved. Two years after the fact, family members of 23-year-old Kayla Ann Glover and 25-year-old Gary Wayne Baskins continue to mourn their losses. Muscle Shoals Police said Glover was found dead more than 20-feet from her vehicle, where Gary Wayne Baskins laid dead in the passenger’s seat; all of this outside Jody’s Restaurant on Highway 20. Investigators have said they collected […]

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    Muscle Shoals teachers and students receive thousands in gifts from foundation

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. — School officials said Christmas has come extra early this year. Tens of thousands of dollars in gifts have been purchased for classrooms across the system. Wrapped in polka dotted school colors, dozens of gifts represent community pride. Almost $50,000 in presents– given to the boys and girls of the Muscle Shoals School System. “At the end of the day it’s about what goes on in that classroom,” said Brian Lindsey, Muscle Shoals Schools Superintendent. “And everything you […]

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    New details released in Lauderdale County murder; suspect appears in court

    FLORENCE, Ala. – We are learning new information on what may have led to the shooting death of a Lauderdale County man. On the fourth floor of the Lauderdale County Courthouse, Robert Eugene Hastings was called to court Tuesday for an initial appearance. It was on his way back to jail that WHNT News 19 got a chance to ask him a couple of questions. “Did you really murder your brother-in-law?” “No way,” answered Robert Eugene Hastings. But according to […]

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    Best Buy to close store in Florence next month

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The City of Florence will lose a major electronics retailer next month.  According to a company spokesperson, Best Buy will close its store on Cox Creek Parkway on February 25. The company made the decision to not renew the store’s lease due to shopping patterns of customers and market strength. Sixty full-time and part-time employees have been given the option to transfer to other stores.  The Florence store opened in 2001.

  • Florence Death Investigation

    UPDATE: Authorities identify woman found dead in Florence apartment

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Authorities have released the identity of the woman found dead in her Florence apartment. She was found over the weekend. Florence Police say she’s 33-year-old Andrea Susan Forbes. Her body was found inside her Simpson Street apartment early Saturday morning by police. Investigators say they are awaiting preliminary autopsy results for an indication on how she died. Police say they received a call to check on Forbes Saturday morning. That’s when they found her alone in her […]

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    Two face felony charges after shopping without paying in Russellville

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – The Russellville Police Department is seeking the public’s help identifying two men who robbed Walmart. The crime was caught on surveillance cameras. In the early morning hours of January 13th, Russellville Police said these two men loaded up a shopping cart at Walmart with no intention of paying. They tell us the men had more than $800 in electronics as they walked towards the front door. When a store clerk tried to approach them, the man pushing […]

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    Shoals blood reserves at critical level; donors needed

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – A plea for help has been sent out in northwest Alabama. The organization who provides blood to hospitals says supplies are dangerously low. The sign says it all; LifeSouth Blood Services has an emergency need. Thursday morning they were at North American Lighting for a blood drive. Mobile Donation Supervisor Christi Heathcoat said there is always a drop in donations during the holiday season, and they normally feel it after the first of the year. “A […]