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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
  • 081816 CO Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 5pm PKG

    ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ launches national campaign Friday

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – A national campaign is set to launch on Friday to help keep drunk drivers off the roadways. It’s not your normal news conference location. Standing in Sheffield’s Oakwood Cemetery were most of north Alabama’s law enforcement agencies to discuss the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. The message was clear Thursday morning – if you choose to drink and drive, the cemetery could be the final stop for you or an innocent bystander. “That’s just a sobering […]

  • 081816 LD Capley  Verdict 6pm PKG

    Capley found guilty of toddler’s death in Lauderdale County

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The district attorney called it one of the saddest cases he has ever had to prosecute. After deliberating the case behind closed doors, the Lauderdale County jury found Robert Chase Capley guilty as charged. Convicted of manslaughter, Capley could now face up to 20 years behind prison bars. Jurors spent the week listening to emotional testimony in the case. On Wednesday, Capley testified his girlfriend, Whitney Whitaker, took the car seat her niece Addy should have been […]

  • 081816 SACS 1

    Lauderdale County deputies need help identifying man in home burglary

    KILLEN, Ala. – The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help identifying a thief. At noon on August 8, the man pictured pulled up to a home on County Road 103 in Killen like he owned the place. Trouble is, he didn’t. Parking his Buick in plain sight of the surveillance camera, he walked around the house looking for something to take. After checking out his options, he loaded up a Stihl hedge trimmer worth a couple of hundred […]

  • 081716 LD 211 Revamped 10pm PKG

    Alabama 211 upgrades network to become mobile friendly for users

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The state-wide network for getting Alabamians assistance when they need it the most is adapting to the way people communicate these days. A group called “211” serves ten of thousands of people each year, connecting them with resources in their community. It’s an invaluable service for people who may be temporarily down on their luck. Since 2007, 211 has served the six county of northwest Alabama through the United Way of Northwest Alabama. Each day they hear […]

  • 081716 LD Capley Manslaughter Trial 6pm PKG

    Capley manslaughter trial ready for closing arguments in Lauderdale County

    FLORENCE, ALA. – Day two of testimony ended with the state and defense both resting their cases in the manslaughter trial of Robert Capley in Lauderdale County. Wednesday ended with defendant taking the stand in his own defense. Mid-afternoon Capley described the events which lead up to the point of 2-year-old Addison Whitaker’s death. Capley stated under-oath, Addy’s aunt Whitney Whitaker took the car seat out of his vehicle before leaving to go to a family member’s home. He said […]

  • 081616 LD Sheriff Budget Request 5pm PKG

    Lauderdale County Sheriff plans to ask for higher starting salaries in upcoming budget

    FLORENCE, Ala. – As fiscal years get ready to close for local governments, budget talks are beginning to take place for 2017. In Lauderdale County, Sheriff Rick Singleton wants to get his requests out to the public before commissioners start talking about them. “That’s why I ran for this job, to make a difference in this department,” stated Singleton. “This department has been neglected for years and years and years.” During his first 18 months in office, Sheriff Singleton restructured the […]

  • Rachel Tarkington (Photo: Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office)

    UPDATE: Lauderdale County woman found safe after disappearance in early August

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – We have good news about a woman reported missing earlier this month in the Shoals. Rachel Tarkington, 27, was found safe last week.  Prior to this, her family had not seen her since August 4 in the Cloverdale community, in the northern part of Lauderdale County. The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office said Tarkington is safe, and back with her family again.

  • Officers on the scene of a death investigation on Grand Ave

    UPDATE: Muscle Shoals police identify victim, treating investigation as homicide

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Muscle Shoals police are actively investigating the death of Jason Lee Fox, 40, after he was found with gunshot wounds in his home on Grand Avenue. The investigation is being treated as a homicide. Police say it is too early in the investigation to pursue the idea of a suspect at large. Investigators say they were called to the home around noon Friday after a woman found her husband with what police are describing as a “traumatic […]

  • Detective Michael Price, left, and Chris Kilpatrick, right (Photos: Florence Police Department)

    Florence Police: Man shot by officer in Wilson community has been in prison 20 of his 42 years

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Florence Police have released more information about an officer-involved shooting that happened Thursday near Chisholm Road in the Wilson area.  A detective shot a man who was caught driving a stolen truck. Chief Ron Tyler said Detective Michael Price, a five-year veteran of the Florence Police Department, has been investigating a series of vehicle thefts in the community, from Florence to Wayne County. Detective Sgt. Brad Holmes spotted what he believed was a stolen white Ford […]

  • Surviellance picture of bank robber beside mug shot from crimes in Missouri.

    Tuscumbia Police: Charged bank robber now in custody in Colbert County on $100,000 bond

                        Update: The following message is from Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan: “Robber delivered to Colbert county jail around 8 p.m. tonight. Our personnel went and picked him up after he waived extradition. Under a $100,000 bond.” Ratcliff has been charged with robbery. — — — Tuscumbia Police say officers are heading to northeast Mississippi to talk with the man they believe robbed a credit union on Wednesday. Investigators say Justin Nathaniel […]

  • 081016 LD Hospital Utility Grant 6pm PKG

    City receives federal grant to prepare for new Florence Hospital

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Infrastructure to the planned hospital development in east Florence must be upgraded by the city before construction can begin. RegionalCare Hospital Partners plan to break ground on the 29-acre plot of land in early December. But first, the Florence Utility Department must upgrade sewer and water lines in the area to accommodate an increase in demand. To help off-set the costs, the city applied for grants to help with the work. This week, they were awarded $632,000 […]

  • Police say the man in this surveillance photo robbed TVA Community Credit Union in Tuscumbia on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: Colbert County Sheriff's Office)

    Police release surveillance picture of suspect in Tuscumbia credit union robbery

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Police confirm someone robbed the TVA Community Credit Union on 6th Street in Tuscumbia on Wednesday. The incident happened just before 2 p.m. The Colbert County Sheriff’s Office released a surveillance photo of the suspect on its Facebook page.  Investigators are looking for a white male, tall and slim with short blonde hair, wearing an old worn out blue long sleeve shirt, old blue jeans and white ball cap.  The suspect has tattoos on his face and hands. […]