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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, 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
  • 050816 CO Hall of Fame Excitement 530 PKG

    Music Hall of Fame continues to see success since reopening

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – Nearly 26-years ago the doors of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame were opened to the public. Through their history, the museum has faced some set-backs. But since they reopened in 2013 things have turned around. The state of Alabama has a rich history in music. There have been many musicians, writers and producers who have called the state home. They are on proud display in Alabama’s one and only music hall of fame in Tuscumbia. […]

  • Lauderdale County Deputy Randall McCrary

    Lauderdale County Deputy returns to work 3 months after being shot

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – February 3, 2016, forever changed deputy Randall McCrary`s life. “I told God, if this is the way it`s going to be I`m ready to go. After that I was at peace and nothing really mattered,” recalled McCrary. He and three other Lauderdale County Deputies were serving involuntary commitment papers on a man suffering from mental health issues. McCrary was shot one time during a gun fight. The bullet went through his arm and entered his […]

  • Daryl Raymond Jr.

    Man arrested at traveling petting zoo in Florence faces new sexual abuse charge

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A 48-year-old man arrested at a traveling petting zoo in Florence last weekend now faces an additional charge of sexual abuse. Daryl Raymond Jr. appeared in court Friday morning for a hearing.  He is now charged with six counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12.  He remains in jail with a bond of $300,000. Investigators say the crimes happened April 27, 28 and 29th while Raymond worked for Jungle Safari, a traveling […]

  • mark montgomery

    Man pleads guilty to 2014 shooting deaths

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Lauderdale County District Attorney’s Office described it as one of the most awful murders they have ever worked. Late Thursday afternoon, the man being held responsible for the shooting deaths of two women pleaded guilty. With little emotion on his face, Mark Montgomery was escorted into circuit court. Facing trial and the death penalty in less than two weeks, Montgomery entered a guilty plea during his appearance. “That finality and surety of that certainly outweighs […]

  • 050516 MSPD Robbery 1

    Muscle Shoals authorities need help identifying a robbery suspect

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) – Police are searching for a man who reached into a cash drawer while the clerk was helping another customer. The crime was caught on surveillance camera, and investigators believe the public can help identify him. Just before 8pm on April 28th, the robbery suspect strolled into Walgreens on Woodward Avenue in Muscle Shoals. After picking an item off of a nearby rack, he headed to the checkout line. When the clerk opened the cash drawer […]

  • 050416 CO UAB Telemedicine 630 PKG

    UAB Doctor uses telemedicine to treat Colbert County dialysis patient

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) – A Colbert County woman is making history for medical treatment and technology. Something extraordinary is happening inside the walls of the Colbert County Health Department. Ellen McGowen is having a face-to-face visit, even though she is hours away from her doctor.  She’s the first patient to have a comprehensive dialysis check-up using telemedicine. “This has been the greatest thing to happen to me since I started dialysis. I have been a dialysis patient for five years,” […]

  • 050316 CO Murder Prelim 6pm PKG3

    New Details: Cases against Tuscumbia murder suspects headed to grand jury

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – Two men accused of murdering Tuscumbia teenager Kijana Freeman were in court Tuesday morning. Shackled and cuffed, Peter Capote and Thomas Hubbard were escorted in to the Colbert County Courthouse. During the hearing, Tuscumbia Police Investigator Wes Holland testified to the events which unfolded the night of March 1st at Spring Creek Apartments. Holland said under oath, informants led investigators to Benjamin Young, Peter Capote and Thomas Hubbard. Holland stated his sources told him Hubbard was […]

  • Daryl Raymond Jr.

    Petting zoo employee faces more child sex abuse charges in Florence; police suspect more victims may come forward

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – On Monday, more charges were filed against a petting zoo employee charged with sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. As the case against 48-year-old Daryl Raymond Jr. continues to evolve, investigators said more victims are likely to come forward. Monday morning, Raymond was escorted into Lauderdale County District Court for an initial appearance. Raymond is charged with five counts of sexual abuse of a child. Florence Police arrested him on Saturday after […]

  • 042816 LD Wills For Officers 6pm PKG

    Lauderdale Probate Judge, attorneys offer free wills for law enforcement

    FLORENCE, Ala. – They go out every day and night, not knowing if they will return home at the end of their shift. Law enforcement put their lives on the line to protect their communities daily. “We recognize that what police officers do is very difficult and dangerous and unfortunately with some recent incidents, that’s really hit home here in Lauderdale County,” explained Probate Judge Will Motlow. On average, every 61 hours a law enforcement officer loses his life in […]

  • Shoals Area CrimeStoppers

    Florence Police search for two women accused of theft

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The picture might be a bit grainy, but investigators are hopeful it’s good enough to identify two women. In January, the duo went to Big Lots on Darby Drive, loading up their buggy. Florence Police said when they checked out they used a stolen and forged check. The clerk accepted it, not knowing anything was wrong. The ladies got away with their loot and now investigators would like to know who they are. Authorities in Lauderdale County […]

  • Phil Campbell monument

    Tonight’s service in Phil Campbell moved to high school gymnasium due to weather

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Phil Campbell was one of the hardest hit areas in north Alabama on April 27, 2011.  Twenty-seven Franklin County residents lost their lives.  Wednesday night, hundreds are expected to gather to remember loved ones who died. NOTE: The event at 6 p.m. was initially scheduled to be held in the stadium.  It has been moved inside to the high school gymnasium due to the possibility of inclement weather.  We plan to stream this event on […]

  • Tom Hunter with American Heritage Trees places a sapling taken from a tornado damaged tree at Ivy Green on the stump of the tree in which it was taken from. (Carter Watkins / WHNT News 19)

    Historic Ivy Green tree replaced with a descendent sapling

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – A historic tree on the grounds of Helen Keller’s birthplace was destroyed by a tornado last year.  Monday, a descendant of the tree which Keller wrote about was planted in its place. Since July of 2015 the old oak tree has sat on the grounds of Ivy Green. It’s estimated the tree stood proudly in Tuscumbia for more than 240 years. “It was a sapling when our country was a sapling,” explained Tom Hunter with American Heritage […]


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