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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
  • University of North Alabama releases economic impact study

    FLORENCE, Ala. – How much impact does the University of North Alabama have on the northwest Alabama economy? The numbers from a seven-month long study have been released, and are sort of surprising. Doug Barrett is a numbers guy. He and a team of economists at UNA just completed an impact study. They charted university, employee, and student spending over the 2015-2016 academic year. The team then looked at the earnings as a result of the university, almost $400-million. “Some […]

  • Two Lexington teens hurt in morning wreck

    LEXINGTON, Ala. – Two Lexington teens were injured in a early morning wreck on their way to school. According to Lexington police, the wreck happened on Highway 101 North just before 6:00 a.m. Investigators say the car left the roadway and tumbled onto its side. An air ambulance took the 13-year-old passenger to Huntsville Hospital. Paramedics transported the 17-year-old driver to ECM. Emergency personnel don’t believe their injuries are life threatening. The two students were heading to school to meet the […]

  • Lauderdale inmates to start paying for their own major medical expenses

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Beginning May 1, inmates in the Lauderdale County Detention Center could be responsible for their own health care costs. Behind the razor wire and fencing, an average of 250 men and women are housed in the detention center daily. Some for major felonies, others for misdemeanors. “Right now it costs us about $37 a day to house an inmate in the jail,” Sheriff Rick Singleton explained. Sheriff Singleton said a big portion of his operating budget at […]

  • Stolen credit card information used by skimmers in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a group of suspected skimmers. Here are surveillance pictures of the two suspects police are looking for. According to investigators, they gained debit card information from residents of the Shoals and went shopping. Authorities said the breach of information likely happened on April 19 and 20. The men went to Walmart’s in Florence and used the stolen information to purchase gift cards before disappearing in a black Chevrolet Tahoe. Florence […]

  • Lauderdale County’s largest polling location has been moved

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – The largest voting precinct in Lauderdale County has been relocated. Orange barrels line U.S. Highway 43 in Greenhill. A road-widening project began in 2016 and is expected to last for several more months. This construction has eliminated a lot of parking at the Greenhill Senior Center. A location which doubled as a polling place. “When that happened we knew we needed to do something,” stated Lauderdale County Probate Judge Will Motlow. “So I started looking for […]

  • Crane overturns at site of new Florence hospital

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Earlier Wednesday, a crane overturned at the construction site of Florence’s new hospital. North Alabama Medical Center officials confirmed that no injuries were reported in the incident and the structure does not have damage. Construction was temporarily halted today out of an abundance of caution. Officials expect that construction will continue as planned tomorrow. They do not anticipate this incident impacting progress or the completion date of the new hospital. Officials say that there are stringent safety controls in place at the […]

  • St. Joseph students receive coveted campus award

    FLORENCE, Ala. – After four years of non-stop work, some students in Florence received a prized trophy Friday morning. But it’s not for work in the classroom, rather outside keeping their environment clean. Steve Trash is a world-renowned entertainer. Magic is his specialty, but recycling is his passion. The Shoals native travels internationally, performing magic tricks as a way to further his cause. “We’re absolutely making progress; curb-side recycling. Recycling is a fairly common idea; preventing litter, keeping our communities clean […]

  • Shaw selected to lead Florence City Schools

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence City School Board has selected who they want to lead the school system forward. Of the four finalists, they decided to keep leadership in the family. Jimmy Shaw will be moving to the other end of the hall in the school system’s central office. Shaw, an Assistant Superintendent in Florence City Schools, has been chosen as the next superintendent. The board of six voted four in favor with two abstentions Thursday afternoon. One other finalist, […]

  • Burglary suspect identity being sought by Muscle Shoals police

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Police have a string of burglaries they are investigating. One of those crimes was captured in the last couple of weeks on camera.   During the dark of night, Muscle Shoals police said this man burglarized a business. On April 6th, investigator state the man seen in these pictures broke into Crossroads Building Supply. Once the man got into the east Avalon Avenue location, police said he smashed a safe. Business owners told police the man […]

  • Sheffield murder suspect headed to mental health facility

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – A Colbert County man accused of murdering his father in 2014 won’t be going to prison. Following a not guilty plea, George Morris III has been committed to a state mental health facility. Colbert County Circuit Judge Hal Hughston issued the ruling after a hearing earlier this month. Hughston’s order commits Morris into the custody of the Department of Mental Health. During the hearing, a psychologist stated Morris suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Sheffield police say on September […]

  • Proposed agricultural center causing strife in Lauderdale County

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Lauderdale County could see a new agricultural and event center within two years. It’s not local leaders planning a 10,000 seat arena, but the legislative delegation from the Shoals. However, the project will be taking money out of local budgets. When power is generated from Wilson Dam, TVA pays state’s hundreds of millions of dollars called “In Lieu of Taxes”. Money which is then distributed to local and county governments. The Shoals delegation of representatives and senators […]

  • Jenise Spurgeon given bond amount; can’t have contact with victims if released

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A woman accused of abusing adopted and foster children appeared in court Tuesday afternoon. After weeks of being held without bond, Jenise Spurgeon now has the opportunity to get out of the Lauderdale County Detention Center. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, Jenise Spurgeon made her second appearance in court. Spurgeon was extradited from Cape Coral, Florida earlier this month after being arrested on several hundred charges. Charges which stem from years of abuse and neglect of foster […]