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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
  • Friends remember Florence hit and run victim

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Residents of an apartment building in Florence continue to mourn the loss of one of their own. Kevin Doherty tragically lost his life Friday night when he was struck by a vehicle, the driver of which fled the scene. With only 16 residents, everyone at Dogwood Terrace Apartments in Florence is like family. So when they got the news Friday night Kevin Doherty had been hit by a car, they were all shocked. Pam towns said Kevin moved […]

  • New middle school campus on schedule in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It took months to get the project off the ground, now the new Florence Middle School is quickly progressing, but contractors have met a few challenges along the way. From Sky19 you get a much better idea of just how many workers are on-site. Concrete block walls are quickly going up on the northern side of the campus. On the southern end foundations for the new school are being poured. “We’re 23 percent complete on the facility, […]

  • Thieves caught on camera stealing cars in Muscle Shoals

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Caught on camera! Two men need to be identified for stealing two cars from an auction house in Muscle Shoals. In the early morning hours of September 28th, these two guys managed to gain access to the car lot at North Alabama Auto Auction in Muscle Shoals. According to Muscle Shoals police, they managed to get two cars started, but ran into some problems when trying to steal them. Their predicament – a gate stood between […]

  • Colbert County man pleads guilty in conspiracy to kill teen

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – He stood accused of setting up a meeting which ended in the murder of a Tuscumbia teen, this week he pleaded guilty. Set to go to trial in less than two weeks – attorneys for 21-year-old Devontae Bates helped orchestrate a plea agreement which could lead to a 20-year prison sentence. Bates was set for trial in Colbert County Circuit Court on October 16th. After discussing the plea agreement with the family of the victim, Kijana Freeman, prosecutors […]

  • Firearms training classes on the rise at Lauderdale County range

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — According to the latest statistics, Alabama ranks in the top ten of states whose households own a gun. With gun ownership comes great responsibility, and one of the biggest advocates for training in the Shoals is the newest shooting range. Cypress Creek Indoor Range’s co-owner Gene Schrieber spent his first career as a law enforcement officer. He wanted this facility to be different from the others. Since opening their doors in May, this gun range in […]

  • City changes what items can be dumped into Florence Landfill to meet new federal regulations

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Residents in the city of Florence will be noticing a change in what items will be picked up curb-side this week. Federal regulations have changed in what is allowed to be discarded in the Florence Landfill. It’s something residents have done for decades; when they are done with an appliance or piece of electronics they toss it out by the street. Until now, most of those items ended up in the Florence Landfill. “People are used to […]

  • Committee recommends that pay for Florence public safety employees be compared to other departments

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Just over a month ago a bombshell was dropped on the Florence City Council Public Safety Committee and mayor. The police and fire departments are losing employees at an alarming rate because of pay and benefits. The groups sat back down Monday to discuss solutions. The tone of the meeting Monday was quite different from August 23. The initial shock of losing so many city employees due to pay has soaked in. Committee members have looked toward […]

  • Russellville theft suspect needs identifying

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Police are seeking the identity of a theft suspect who hit several businesses in Russellville. He was caught on camera last week and investigators hope someone knows who he is. The pictures are a bit on the creepy side; a guy trying to hide his face with a hoodie and for good reason. Russellville police said he is their main suspect in three burglaries last week. Investigators said all three businesses were along Highway 43 in the […]

  • First responders use drill to work on skills in Colbert County

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – In an emergency seconds count for first responders. To hone their skills, emergency management coordinators hold disaster drills. Thursday morning a scenario took place at Northwest Alabama Regional Airport. Dispatchers sent the call out just after 10:00, “…for an aircraft collision with multiple occupants on board. 911 standing by 10:04, this is a drill…” A drill with lives in the balance. Two airplanes collided on the tarmac in Thursday’s scenario. They were represented by buses; both […]

  • Volunteers gather in Florence to battle food insecurity

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Food insecurity is a growing problem across the Valley. To meet the demand for food pantries in northwest Alabama volunteers packed thousands of meals Wednesday morning. With each scoop plastic bags were filled. Each bag represents a nutritious meal for someone in need. The United Way of Northwest Alabama started their annual “Unite to Fight Hunger” campaign four years ago. “This is what our community does; they show up over and over again and I know they […]

  • Lauderdale investigators continue search for shooting suspect

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – A Lauderdale County man shot while sitting in his home Tuesday night continues to recover. By all accounts the Forest Drive neighborhood in Center Star is a quiet part of the county. Kids play outside while residents tend to their yards. Perception changed when a single gun shot rang out Tuesday night around seven o’clock. “I believe they got out of their car because the shell casing that was recovered from the scene was actually on […]

  • Lauderdale County Man accused of sexually abusing teen since infancy

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It’s a disturbing case of sexual abuse involving a child out of Lauderdale County. A grand jury has handed down multiple felony charges against a man during their most recent session. There are details so chilling in the indictment it will turn your stomach. 46-year-old Billy Wayne Holder is accused of sexually abusing a teen girl for more than a dozen years. It’s taken law enforcement almost a month to track Holder down since his indictment. A […]