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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
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    Florence investigators need help identifying theft suspects

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence Police Department is releasing surveillance video in hopes of identifying some possible theft suspects. On August 11th, these three people entered the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Florence to do a little shopping. Trouble is they were using someone else’s credit card. Florence police said they need help figuring out who these folks are. At least one of them has racked up $800 worth of charges on the stolen card. Luckily the card has been shut […]

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    Former petting zoo employee indicted on child sex abuse charges in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A former petting zoo employee has been indicted on multiple counts of child sex abuse. Since his arrest in late April, the families of six children have come forward, saying Daryl Victor Raymond, Jr. touched their child inappropriately while visiting a petting zoo. According to the indictments handed down by a Lauderdale County Grand Jury, Raymond is charged with six counts of unlawful sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. Florence police received a […]

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    Florence Police release arrest statistics in order to be transparent

    FLORENCE, Ala. – With unrest against law enforcement still at a heightened level, one Shoals agency is being proactive in the public eye. Instead of allowing critics to put misinformation out to the public, the Florence Police Department is posting their own facts and figures on the job they are doing. Ask any law enforcement officer and they will tell you policing is different now because of social media. Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler said there is a lot of […]

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    Two capital murder suspects arraigned in Colbert County

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Two men accused of gunning down a Tuscumbia teenager was arraigned Wednesday afternoon. Indicted just a few weeks ago for capital murder, Peter Capote and Benjamin Young made their first appearance in circuit court. Under heavy security, both men were escorted into the Colbert County Courthouse where they took turns standing before Judge Hal Hughston and entering a plea of not guilty to capital murder. According to court documents, Peter Capote and Benjamin Young are thought to […]

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    Crews find body of missing swimmer in Lauderdale County

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Search crews have found the body of a swimmer who went missing in Pickwick Lake on Monday afternoon. Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency Director George Grabryan says crews found Nicholas Jeremy Smith’s body on Wednesday about 9 a.m. near the mouth of Yellow Creek on the Tennessee River. Smith, 36, was from Memphis.  Grabryan said the man jumped off a pontoon boat on Monday afternoon, swam around for a few minutes, then never resurfaced. Agencies from […]

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    Shoals authorities investigate social media pictures depicting possible animal abuse

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. — Multiple police agencies in the Shoals are investigating a bizarre social media post. Sheffield Police Chief Greg Ray said he started getting calls at home on Sunday night about outraged locals calling in about what a Sheffield man posted on social media. And the pictures in question– even Chief Ray called shocking. “The puppy was in his lap, pointing a gun to the puppies head. There were some comments made that you know I certainly don’t want to […]

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    Florence Police seek help in identifying robbery suspect

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police are looking for leads in the robbery of a convenience store. In the early morning hours of August 17th, the man walked into the Kangaroo gas station on Cox Creek Parkway demanding money from the clerk. Detectives said despite covering his face, there are still some clues to his identity. If you look closely, his left forearm is covered in tattoos. Although there were no injuries, police said the robber got away with more than $100. Florence […]

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    Joint operation nets arrests and surprising amount of ICE in Franklin County

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – A drug investigation in Franklin County is winding down numerous arrests and what authorities call ‘a surprising amount of drugs and guns’. Authorities there said the investigation started as an everyday patrol call and snow-balled from there. This investigation involves likely the most potent drug on the streets at the moment, ICE or crystal meth as some know it. “Usually what we used to see was ounces, small personal use type stuff,” stated Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver. […]

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    Police investigating body found on side of Helton Drive in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Florence Police say state workers have found a body along Helton Drive, near the exit to Florence Boulevard. The northbound direction of Helton Drive is down to one lane in this area. Police were called to the area about 10 a.m. Thursday.  A crew of Alabama Department of Transportation officials were cutting grass in the area when they discovered what they thought to be human remains. Officers who responded to the scene confirmed that fact. Officers say the […]

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    Lawsuit filed against former Colbert County children’s pastor and church

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. — A lawsuit has been filed this week in Colbert County against a church and its former children’s pastor, who has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting children in the congregation. The suit has been filed by one of the victims who alleges years of sexual abuse. A 10-page lawsuit filed in Colbert County Circuit Court names Jeffrey Dale Eddie and Highland Park Baptist Church as defendants. The lawsuit contends both Eddie and the church should be held responsible […]

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    Florence opens medical center for city employees

    FLORENCE, Ala. – In a partnership, the city of Florence has created a health and wellness center for employees. Since opening their doors on Tuesday, every 20 minutes a city employee has been seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner. CareHere and the city partnered to open the first center of this type in the Shoals. Mayor Mickey Haddock said they have been studying the concept for more than a year. “We finally decided there was enough information out there […]

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    Commission forced to take strong look at new Lauderdale County Detention Center

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The warning bells have been rung in Lauderdale County. Jail overcrowding has reached the point in which a plan has to be instituted, or more prisoners will have to be released. In 2015, the Lauderdale County Detention Center averaged more than 220 inmates a day. During a recent fire marshal inspection, the jail was housing more than 260. Trouble is the detention center was only designed for 203. In the spring, Sheriff Rick Singleton suggested to the […]