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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
  • Wagons donated to hospital pediatric units across the Shoals

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Sometimes we are so moved by watching or hearing something we have to take action. A WHNT News 19 viewer was so moved after watching a story Jerry Hayes did earlier this year on red wagons for pediatric care units she had to get involved. A retired special education teacher has made it her mission to comfort small kids who have to stay in area hospitals. Anita Himber and her husband Bob have donated two specially equipped […]

  • Seniors told they can’t have “potlucks” at St. Florian center

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Turmoil is surrounding a senior center in the Shoals. On Thursday morning, the parking lot at the St. Florian Senior Center sat empty. Wednesdays are normally the big day at the center and have been for years. It’s when dozens of people bring a covered dish and everyone sits around eating and chatting. “Well, it’s a place we go once a week to enjoy meals and fellowship and stuff,” stated Horace Gray. “It’s a good way […]

  • Florence PD continues investigating Wood Avenue murder

    FLORENCE, Ala. – For more than three weeks now the Florence Police Department has been working a murder mystery. On May 2nd, 26-year-old Jose Elliot D’Leon was found dead inside his Wood Avenue apartment. Police say he lived alone. According to investigators working the case, a friend went by to check on him, that’s when he was discovered dead. D’Leon had recently moved to the Shoals with a group of friends which is about all they know of his time […]

  • Warning system being finalized for Colbert County residents

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – In an emergency situation time matters. To better their communication with the public, Colbert County Emergency Management is about to unveil a new notification system to their residents. In recent years, Colbert County EMA has relied on news media and social media to notify its residents about hazardous conditions. Whether it has been flooding, icing, or tornadoes those notifications may not necessarily reach people as quickly as they need too. “One of the few things we […]

  • Huntsville man faces escape charge from Lauderdale County

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — A Huntsville man faces a felony escape charge after running away from the Lauderdale County Detention Center on Monday. Authorities say Rodrecous Deshawn Rogers ran out an open door while another inmate was being brought in. Rogers was being booked on a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property, according to the sheriff’s office. He was found nearly two hours later and will face prison time.

  • Coyotes spotted in numerous Colbert County neighborhoods

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Residents across Colbert County are on alert. Numerous pictures have started coming across social media news feeds in recent weeks showing coyotes in neighborhoods. The latest spotting of a coyote to sweep through social media happened at Village One in Sheffield. A resident spotted it trotting across an open field. “At night-time, sometimes I will take the dog out around two o’clock in the morning and you can hear them in the distance,” explained Sheffield resident Kane […]

  • Alabama Marine Patrol begins enhanced watch over Valley waterways

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer recreation season. Thousands across the valley will head to the lakes and rivers to crank up their boats and dust off the skis. It’s only Tuesday, but the Alabama Marine Patrol is already getting geared up for the weekend. Increased patrols along the Tennessee River are underway. “We’re just looking to keep the water safe this weekend,” said Lt. Chad Pate with Alabama Marine Patrol. Lt. Chad Pate oversees […]

  • Lauderdale County woman accused of torturing horses

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — A Waterloo woman has been indicted on animal cruelty charges, after her arrest earlier this year. 62-year-old Elois Kathleen Inman is accused of intentionally subjecting a horse in her custody to torture – which caused its death. Law enforcement officials were notified in January of two dead horses in her pasture – one of those was found in a pond. She has been charged with not burying the two horses within 24-hours of their death. A third […]

  • Search is on for Russellville child sex abuse suspect

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Authorities in Franklin County are actively searching for a man accused of a repeatedly abusing a young girl. Russellville police say his crimes against the victim lasted for years. According to investigators, as they were closing in on Miguel Ortiz he vanished. However, there is a strong possibility he’s hiding somewhere in Franklin County. Residents along Beech Avenue in Russellville say a small tan home is where Miguel Ortiz once lived before he disappeared.  Neighbors here are […]

  • National “Move Over” campaign stops in Shoals to spread awareness

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – It’s a traffic law in all 50 states, but statistics show more than 60% of all drivers are unaware there is a “Move Over” law for emergency services. A traffic stop or wreck scene is one of the most dangerous situations a first responder might face. Aside from the incident they are working, danger can approach from behind. “When you hear a car get off the road and hit the rumble strips, to us that means […]

  • Florence Inspectors warn of shock hazards around pools and boat docks

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The hot summer months are just around the corner. With the rise in the thermometer, folks across the Valley will be finding ways to cool off. One of the most popular – backyard swimming pools. However, there are several dangers you need to be aware of which you might not see. May is the month many residents begin cleaning up the swimming pool for the summer season. As they are trying to get rid of the green […]

  • Florence police release video of cloned credit card suspect

    FLORENCE, ALA. – Police have released surveillance video of a man accused of using a cloned credit card on a shopping spree worth thousands of dollars.Video shows him walking out of Walmart on Cloverdale Road in Florence with a shopping cart full of merchandise. Switch camera angles and we actually get a pretty good look at him. Investigators say he stopped at three businesses in Florence within an hour.  According to Florence police, he charged $2,000 worth of merchandise during […]