• Follow me on:

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
  • 110416-haddock_5

    Haddock reflects on his only term as Florence Mayor

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The political landscape in Florence is set to change Monday morning with a new mayor and three new council members set to be sworn in. Friday morning, Mayor Mickey Haddock finished packing up after four years in office. He spent two weeks gathering up the memories. “There’s going to be a hole, but walking away, I can walk away knowing that financially we are in better shape than we were when I got here,” stated Haddock. “From […]

  • img_5565

    Burglary suspects identity sought by Russellville Police

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Police are working to identify a burglary suspect. Earlier this week someone broke into a store and got away with a bag of loot. Investigators said the person seen in the surveillance pictures burglarized Dollar General on Montgomery Avenue. Early Tuesday morning, investigators said the suspect shattered the front glass window to make entry. In and out in less than five minutes, police said the burglar grabbed two bag loads of cigarettes before running out. He’s described […]

  • 110216-ld-new-hospital-ground-breaking2

    Construction officially underway on new Florence hospital

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It took five years, but construction is underway on a new hospital in the city of Florence. Wednesday afternoon, dignitaries from across the state helped break ground on the North Alabama Medical Center on Veterans Drive. RCCH Healthcare Partners fought through the Certificate of Need process with the state to build a new 280-bed hospital in northwest Alabama. “There were times where it was a little bit discouraging, but we knew we would get to this point […]

  • 110116-ronnie-credille

    Credille case bound over to grand jury in Muscle Shoals capital murder case

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala – Investigators have released new information in the Muscle Shoals shooting death of Jason Lee Fox in August. One of the suspects charged with capital murder appeared in court Tuesday morning for a preliminary hearing. Shackled in chains, Credille appeared in Colbert County District Court at 9 am. Prosecutors wasted no time diving into the relationship between Credille and Erica Fox.  She’s also charged with capital murder for the shooting death of her husband. Muscle Shoals Police Investigator […]

  • Jared Mothershed (Photo courtesy: Sheffield Baseball website)

    Coroner: Death of Sheffield High School coach ruled accidental

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – The death of a Sheffield High School teacher and coach has been ruled accidental. According to the Colbert County Coroner’s Office, the death of Jared Mothershed has been ruled an accident.  Coroner Carlton Utley says due to the lack of evidence at the scene, he has concluded Mothershed died from the accidental discharging of a firearm. Last week, Mothershed had been placed on paid administrative leave by the Sheffield Board of Education while a personnel investigation […]

  • Sheffield High School

    Sheffield Police confirm investigation about possible inappropriate relationship between school employee, student

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Authorities in Colbert County are investigating a reported inappropriate sexual relationship between a Sheffield High School employee and student. WHNT News 19 has a copy of an incident report filed with Sheffield Police on Friday afternoon. Monday morning, Sheffield Police released the front page of an incident report filed by a 16-year-old female.  According to the claim, there is or was a school employee at Sheffield High School having sexual relations with a student. Sheffield Police Chief […]

  • 102816-ld-una-residence-hall-demo-630pm-pkg2

    UNA faces dilemma with demolition of residence halls

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama has a problem. If you’ve driven along the west side of UNA’s campus you likely noticed a growing mound of debris. Crews are tearing down the old married housing to make room for asphalt. University officials said the debris will have to sit there for a few more weeks because there is no place to put it. “Unfortunately the case is most of that debris is going to stay on site until […]

  • img_1734

    Caught on camera, Florence Police are searching for armed robber

    FLORENCE, Ala. – For the second time in as many months, police are investigating a robbery at a Florence convenience store. Investigators have released surveillance pictures from the Kangaroo station on Cox Creek Parkway, which was robbed on Tuesday morning. Just before 5:30 a.m. a man walked into the gas station with a gun in hand. Covered in all black, the accused robber demanded money from the store clerk. After meeting his demands, the gun-toting robber ran from the store. […]

  • 102716-ld-drought-road-conditions-6pm-pkg

    The effects of a drought are now surfacing on roadways in the Shoals

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Drought conditions are not only affecting farmers and fire fighters right now; the effects are starting to spread to our roadways. Normally a newly paved road would be a blessing for drivers and road crews. However, County Road 74 in northern Lauderdale County is becoming a headache for County Engineer Eric Hill. The drought is causing cracks to appear and spread. “We fight water typically on the other end of the spectrum all the time. We […]

  • 102616-jennifer-gray

    Lauderdale County home set on fire to cover-up burglary

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – State and local authorities have launched an arson investigation in the Centerhill community. The owner has already started cleaning up his mangled mobile home, but the signs of fire are still evident. Smashed out windows and charred walls are the results of what investigators called an intentional fire. “Once the homeowner returned and the fire was out, he went in and started examining some of his property,” stated Det. Andy Corbett with the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s […]

  • 102616-ld-anti-bullying-rally-web

    Lauderdale County students rallied to combat bullying in schools

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Bullying is an unfortunate part of life, and something that especially hits hard during the middle school years. One school system in the Shoals is determined to stamp out bullying, and rallied a group of students on Wednesday. It was more of a pep rally than a pep talk. Music, teachers dancing on stage, it was hard to tell the presentation being made was to stop bullying in schools. “The more the students are engaged with […]

  • Tyre Pickett

    UPDATE: Charges recalled against rape suspect at UNA campus, but investigation isn’t over

    FLORENCE, Ala. – We have an update to a story we brought you on Tuesday.  Police say the Lauderdale County District Attorney has recalled the arrest warrant for a University of North Alabama student accused of rape. Essentially, the rape charge against Tyre Pickett has been dropped.  The UNA police chief says this allows Pickett to be released from jail, but the investigation is still ongoing. District Attorney Chris Connolly said Pickett was arrested on probable cause, but Connolly wants to […]