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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
  • wilson dam 1

    Lauderdale County man electrocuted inside Wilson Dam

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – The Colbert County Coroner confirms a man died this morning inside Wilson Dam. First responders say the 52-year-old was electrocuted just after 8:00 a.m. The incident happened on the 11th floor of the dam when the man inadvertently touched a live electrical box. Authorities will not release the name of the man until his next of kin are notified. Tennessee Valley Authority inspectors are managing the investigation.    

  • 040816 FR Motel Owners Arrested 5pm PKG

    Russellville motel owner and employee jailed after fire code violations found

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Moments after a routine inspection of Budget Inn earlier this week, the owner and inn keeper were both placed under arrest by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Both Sachindra Ram Jibhai Bhagat and Harivadanbhat Madhavbhai Patel are charged with reckless endangerment and violation of the duty of a hotel owner and operator. “Basically dealing with smoke detectors, having a plan in place of inspections, testing and changing batteries, things like that,” Russellville Fire Marshal Justin Green […]

  • 040716 SACS 10pm PKG

    Lauderdale County Deputies continue search for forgery suspect

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department needs the public to take a good hard look at this woman. Investigators featured her on Shoals Area Crime Stoppers in late February. Since then they have interviewed several women who resembled her but have yet to make an arrest. In these bank surveillance pictures, investigators said she is passing a forged check. The pictures were captured at a CB&S Bank branch in Muscle Shoals on February 11. As clear as […]

  • handgun

    SB14 has law enforcement statewide concerned over concealed weapons

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Law enforcement officers are opposing a state bill which has passed the Senate and is now on its way to the House of Representatives for consideration. The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department has seen a sharp increase in the number of pistol permits being requested through their office. Right now, having a permit is the law if you want to carry a loaded weapon in a vehicle.  That could change, however, if the House goes along with […]

  • 040616 CO Keller Rally 5pm PKG

    Rally goers push to have Helen Keller placed on the new $10 bill

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – There’s been a national campaign launched to have one of Alabama’s most recognizable ladies placed on the new $10 bill. A group of school kids visiting Ivy Green Wednesday morning were given a front row seat to a big announcement. State and local leaders gathered at Helen Keller’s birthplace to unveil their vision for the treasury department’s new $10 bill. “With all of the adversity that Helen Keller went through and all of the obstacles that […]

  • 040516 FR School System Additions 5pm PKG

    Franklin County schools prepare for hundreds of additional students this fall

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Most school systems see a growth trend and have time to prepare for it. In Franklin County, school leaders found out last month they should expect hundreds of additional students on their campuses this fall. The influx of students comes on the heels of Russellville City Schools announcing it will begin charging tuition for out-of-district students. “We’re looking at gaining approximately 400 students, that’s almost another campus,” stated Franklin County Schools Superintendent Gary Williams. Williams admitted his head […]

  • 040416 LD Center of Hope 6pm PKG

    ‘Center of Hope’ opens as new emergency shelter in the Shoals

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s a place where those who have fallen on hard times have the opportunity to get back on their feet. Words of encouragement hang through-out the Center of Hope in Florence. It’s an emergency shelter operated by The Salvation Army of the Shoals. “They not only are just giving them a sandwich and a bed, they’re to reach down deep into their lives and to make a transformation so that they won’t need a shelter for […]

  • 040116 CO VFD Fundraisers 630 PKG

    Colbert County firefighter’s get creative when raising money for their departments

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – They are the men and women who respond at a moment’s notice to fires, medical calls and car wrecks. To help with funding their volunteer fire departments, they’ve had to get a bit creative. A vacant parking lot at the intersection of U.S. Highways 72 and 43 is hosting a circus Friday night and Saturday afternoon. It`s a benefit for the Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department. “Chicken stews are just overdone,” stated Carlton Utley with the […]

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    Florence Police are searching for a theft suspect

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Police are searching for the person responsible for breaking into cars in the northern part of the city. Investigators believe the man was caught on camera and need the public’s help in identifying him. During the early morning hours of March 14, a dark blue Ford Escape entered the Robbins Ridge subdivision, inside is the theft suspect. About 1:15 a.m., investigators said he broke into two vehicles parked at separate homes. They said he got-away with […]

  • bentley

    Gov. Bentley visits Franklin County to discuss broadband and rural healthcare, says he has no plans to resign

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Governor Robert Bentley visited with groups in Russellville on Wednesday.  It was his first trip to north Alabama since news of the scandal involving his senior political advisor broke last week. Bentley was firm that he plans to remain on the job.  “I have no intentions of resigning,” he said. “My intentions are to try to make this state better, to work through the difficulties we’re going through.” Bentley hinted about changes possibly coming to his administration, and […]

  • 032916 LD Elder Abuse Arrest WEB

    Investigators: Lauderdale County woman beats roommate with gumball machine during eviction

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – A Lauderdale County man is recovering from injuries he received while trying to evict a roommate. An eviction notice remains taped to the front door of an apartment just off Cloverdale Road in Petersville. According to investigators, the man who rents the apartment wanted his roommate out, so she was served eviction papers on Sunday. “He went through the legal process of evicting her,” Sgt. Brad Bolton stated. “He did it the right way. Apparently she […]

  • 032816 CO Bus Triage 6pm PKG

    Colbert EMA works to build a triage bus for major incidents

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s a vehicle which has transported thousands of students over the last dozen years, and now it’s becoming a tool to save lives. The flashing red lights and yellow coat of paint are unmistakable. A former Colbert County school bus is done running routes, and now it’s being converted into a triage vehicle for major incidents. “Right now when you have a mass casualty situation you’re looking at putting plastic down according to our plan,” […]


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