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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
  • L to R: Hailey Renfroe, Shannon Gargis (Photos: Franklin County Sheriff's Office)

    Mother, boyfriend charged in 1-year-old’s death in Franklin County

    PHIL CAMPBELL, Ala. (WHNT) – A Franklin County mother and her boyfriend are behind bars after a 1-year-old girl was found unresponsive in the couple’s home. “The scene itself and the evidence that we have gathered at this point is just sickening, to know that a child would have to go through this,” explained Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver. The sheriff went on to say it’s one of the worst cases of abuse he has ever seen. At 3 a.m. […]

  • 031616 CO Expanded Search 6pm PKG

    Colbert EMA officials took search for fishermen personally, while also learning lessons

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – For 18 days, crews combed the waters of Pickwick Lake searching for two brothers who didn’t come home from a fishing trip. On March 19, the search came to an end with the discovery of Jeremiah Sanders’ body, four days after his brother Jacob’s body was located. Colbert County EMA Director Mike Melton said it was a search they took personally. “I can’t imagine what they are going through,” Melton said. “But at the same point, […]

  • Jacob and Jeremiah Sanders went missing March 1, 2016. Jacob's body was found March 15. Jeremiah's body was found March 19.

    Teams zone in on Cane Creek area of Pickwick Lake in search for man’s body

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Teams continue to look for the body of Jeremiah Sanders, who has been missing since March 1.  Today, they are centering their search in the Cane Creek area of Pickwick Lake, up to Koger Island. EMA officials say a pilot spotted something of interest in this area on Thursday afternoon. The pilot contacted authorities, who got search crews to the area and spent time there into the evening.  They didn’t find anything, though. This morning, they […]

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    Florence Police search for February theft suspect

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Police have a theft case and need the public’s help in identifying their suspect. Investigators with Florence Police have been trying to figure out who this lady is for a couple of weeks now. Granted the picture isn’t the best, but she is recognizable. Investigators said she is a theft suspect who was captured on camera at Walmart on Florence Boulevard in February. Police said if they can get a name, they should be able to […]

  • 031716 LD Prom DUI Project 530pm PKG

    Chief uses statewide message to stop DUI incidents during prom season

    LEXINGTON, Ala. (WHNT) – With high school prom season upon us, law enforcement officers across the state are educating students about being safe. Their biggest goal is to stop alcohol consumption and get everyone safely home. Lexington Police Chief Augie Hendershot has stepped in front of the camera to educate high school students.  Hendershot was asked by the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police to anchor a public service announcement focused on teens. “We’re concerned and we want to get […]

  • 031616 CO Expanded Search 6pm PKG

    Mutual aid key as search expands on Pickwick Lake for Jeremiah Sanders

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – With one brother found, crews were back on Pickwick Lake Wednesday searching for any sign of Jeremiah Sanders. The search area has expanded to cover more than 50 miles of waterway, and that’s taking a lot of cooperation between many agencies. Two weeks ago, the call for crews to help search the Tennessee River went out. Since Jacob and Jeremiah Sanders were reported missing, the Waterloo Volunteer Fire Department has been actively searching. Fire Chief […]

  • Jacob and Jeremiah Sanders went missing March 1, 2016. Jacob's body was found March 15. Jeremiah's body was found March 19.

    Fisherman finds body of one man in Colbert County, search continues for brother

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – After an extensive search, a fisherman found the body of a missing boater near the Pride Landing boat ramp in Colbert County on Tuesday morning.  The man’s brother is still missing, though. Jacob Sanders’ body was found about 8 a.m.  He and his brother, Jeremiah, went missing March 1 on Pickwick Lake. The location of this morning’s discovery is roughly 11 miles down river from where crews located the men’s boat. Crews and volunteers have searched […]

  • 031416 LD Boater Search 630 WEB

    Searchers say they will stay on Pickwick Lake for as long as it takes

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – After two weeks, there’s been no sign of two brothers who went missing on Pickwick Lake on March 1. A make-shift sign now hangs from the “Old Railroad Bridge” which spans the Tennessee River. It’s a banner of support for the family of Jeremiah and Jacob Sanders. For 13 days, crews have performed visual searches from the air and water. On Sunday, divers entered the water near a point of interest located by cadaver dogs. Hazardous […]

  • 031116 LD Volunteer Search Request WEB

    Volunteers organize water search for missing brothers on Pickwick Lake

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – As fog laid on top of Pickwick Lake Friday morning, family and friends of Jacob and Jeremiah Sanders gathered once again to hold vigil. With each passing day, they wait for answers – or even a sign. “It kind of reminds me of the story in the Bible when Jesus was talking about the Good Samaritan and said, “Well who is my neighbor?” explained volunteer organizer Luke McIntyre. “These are members of our community, so we […]

  • 031016 FR Tuition for Students WEB

    Russellville School Board votes to charge tuition for out of district students

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A decision by the Russellville City School Board has the parents of almost 1,000 students scrambling. At the start of next school year, students outside the city limits will either have to pay tuition or go to a county school. “It is cruel to uproot them from a school system that they are accustoming to,” explained parent Miranda Kennamore. But that’s what is set to happen in August, the start of a new school year in Russellville. […]

  • 031016 SACS WEB

    Troopers look for leads in 2014 fatal pedestrian accident in Lauderdale County

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – In this week’s Shoals Area Crime Stoppers report, a Lauderdale County woman was killed while trying to walk across a state highway. It’s been more than a year a half since her death and no one has been brought to justice. Wednesday, September 24, 2014, tragedy struck on Alabama 20 just three miles from the Tennessee state line. For more than five years, 71-year-old Wilma Darlene Carles walked to her nephew’s hardware store for coffee and […]

  • 030916 LD Fishermen Search 6pm PKG

    Crews continue search for two missing brothers on Pickwick Lake

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Wednesday marked day eight in the search for two brothers who went missing on Pickwick Lake in the Shoals. An exhaustive operation, search crews continue to use sonar and air support to comb over miles of shoreline and waterway. A single fire boat sat docked at McFarland Park at noon, a pit stop to eat before heading back out on the water. They are one of many crews searching the Tennessee River for Jeremiah and Jacob Sanders. […]


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