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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
  • Skimmers hit two ATM’s across the Shoals; suspect picture released

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Running by an ATM is normally a task which is done with very little thought. But a Colbert County resident noticed something a bit off, and it turns out he may have saved hundreds of people from falling victim to identity theft. Getting some cash from a Listerhill Credit Union branch in Muscle Shoals on Sunday morning a member noticed his card didn’t go in very smoothly. “They had been to one of our ATM’s and […]

  • Awaiting trial, Florence man indicted on new child pornography charges

    Florence, Ala. – A retired Florence business owner accused of possessing obscene material of a person under the age of 17 is back behind bars charged with dozens of counts of producing child pornography. William “Pete” Wesson was taken into custody Thursday afternoon on new grand jury indictments. First arrested in November of 2016, 65-year-old Pete Wesson recently had more than 100 new indictments handed down against him for possessing child pornography and producing pornographic material with minors. Wesson made […]

  • Muscle Shoals theft caught on-camera; police seek suspect

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – The Muscle Shoals Police Department is seeking information on who may have stolen an ATV and utility trailer. The theft was caught on camera – so chances are you might just recognize the suspect.Under the cover of darkness, a white SUV appears out of nowhere. Muscle Shoals police say the person driving what they believe to be a Dodge Durango – is responsible for a high dollar theft. Just after 2:30 on the morning on January […]

  • Florence police officer bitten by retired K9 Titus

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence Police K9 which bit a woman outside her home in November, has also recently bitten a police officer. K9 Titus has a new home for the time being. A kennel has been constructed on Florence Police Department property. Florence police removed him from service after an incident on November 11th. Investigators said he escaped an enclosure at his handler’s home and bit a neighboring woman. “We take that extremely serious,” stated Captain Mike Holt. “It was […]

  • Deshler teen dies in weekend crash; school mourns

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – The death of a classmate over the weekend has a Colbert County school leaning on one another. Grief counselors and teachers at Deshler High School are helping students cope after a tragic car crash Sunday morning which killed a senior. Orange flags mark the path into a tree line on Old Memphis Road. State Troopers said 18-year-old Travon McCord was riding in a car which left the road and struck a tree. He was pronounced dead at the […]

  • Russellville police seek burglary suspect from September crimes

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Police are seeking the identity of a theft suspect who hit several businesses in Russellville. He was caught on camera in mid-September 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. Investigators said all three businesses were along Highway 43 in the heart of […]

  • Some Franklin County roads passable, but still slick in spots

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – They were the first county in northwest Alabama to declare their roads impassable. 24-hours later, Franklin County roads are slightly better, but they are still not great. As the sun rose on Wednesday you could still see ice covering Jackson Street in downtown Russellville. Although some roads were able to melt off late Tuesday – many still have slick spots. Which is why this street department crew was out first thing Wednesday spreading sand. They are trying […]

  • UNA students help feed their own for MLK service project

    FLORENCE, Ala. – On this Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, dozens in the Shoals gathered under his inspiration. King challenged man-kind to help others; which is exactly what happened on the University of North Alabama campus. Scoop on top of scoop. Four scoops equal a nutrient-filled meal for those who are food deprived. “Some of the foods they do offer, the dehydrated vegetables and things like that, are actually grown from their own gardens,” explained Bethany Green with UNA’s […]

  • Freezing temps mean more fires, Russellville FD is prepared to battle blazes in the cold

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Freezing temperatures dramatically increase the number of calls fire departments receive. So, with temperatures dropping below freezing for an extended amount of time, Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell says he is bringing in additional personnel over the weekend. Friday morning was hectic for the Russellville Fire Department. No sooner than when firefighters reported for work, they got their first call. A mobile home being used outside a Russellville business had caught on fire. Thankfully, the resident was […]

  • Shoals poised to benefit from Toyota-Mazda announcement

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Economic leaders in north Alabama are saying Wednesday’s announcement by Toyota and Mazda doesn’t come around very often. Aside from the jobs being directly created at the assembly plant – hundreds if not thousands will be created across the region. Several years ago the Shoals dipped into the auto-industry. Tier one and tier two suppliers provide assembly parts to numerous automotive leaders. North American Lighting has grown into the largest employer in the Shoals. Economic leaders say […]

  • Colbert County attorney indicted; accused of bribing a juror

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – A prominent Colbert County attorney was indicted on Monday accused of bribing a potential juror. WHNT News 19 has spent the day digging into the indictment and allegations. After 38-years of defending the rights of others – Billy Underwood, one of the Shoals most flamboyant attorneys, has been arrested. The Alabama Attorney General’s Office announced the indictment and arrest Monday afternoon. A 17-member grand jury found enough cause to indict Billy Underwood for bribery of a juror. […]

  • One man charged in connection with Sunday fatal shooting in Sheffield

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Sheffield police have spent more than 24-hours looking into what caused a Florence man to be shot outside a home Sunday afternoon. After speaking with numerous witnesses, police said the case is anything but cut and dry. Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray said the shooting happened in the front yard of a home in the 900 block of Southeast 17th Street around 12:30. According to Chief Ray, the two men involved in the shooting were initially […]