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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
  • Coon Dog Cemetery among most unique Labor Day events

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – It’s one of the most unique Labor Day events anywhere in the country. Hundreds if not thousands of people trek into the backwoods of Colbert County to celebrate the coon dog. “Squeak”, “Bear”, and even “Hank” made it into one of the most coveted cemeteries in the country. 80 years ago Key Underwood buried “Troop” here on his favorite hunting land deep in Freedom Hills. Visitors from all over the country come here – paying homage […]

  • What to do with Veterans Park in Florence? City is conducting survey

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It’s a city park in Florence which has fallen into disrepair. City leaders didn’t want to spend any money on Veterans Park because of the chance of building an attraction there. More than ten years ago this “Campground Closed” sign went up. Camping was shifted to McFarland Park in anticipation of clearing the property. When the Retirement Systems of Alabama project came to the Shoals, the park was to get an attraction to draw in visitors. With […]

  • Shoals Public Park Authority votes to give RSA millions for conference center improvements

    Florence, Ala. – It’s a project which has been called a game changer for northwest Alabama. But for more than ten years it has been hampered by the final piece of the puzzle. Shoals leaders have said the stars aligned to get the investment project completed in the early 2000’s. The Retirement Systems of Alabama invested tens of millions to build a luxury hotel and the Robert Trent Jones golf course. RSA even remodeled the Florence Conference Center after leasing […]

  • Florence police seek identities of forgery suspects

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Law enforcement across two states need help identifying three theft suspects. The crooks were caught on surveillance cameras getting money which didn’t belong to them. In late July, three people shuffled across northwest Alabama and southern Tennessee cashing stolen checks. Six police departments need help getting them behind bars. Over a three-day period, two men and a woman went into the same store in Florence cashing forged checks.   They’ve racked quite a few charges and its […]

  • UNA forced to postpone season opening football game

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Last season, a hurricane cancelled one of UNA’s football games in Florida. Getting ready to kick-off this season, Harvey forced UNA to move their game scheduled for Thursday night. The sidelines at Braly stadium will remain empty on what was supposed to be the kick-off to college football this season. Just before noon Thursday, UNA made the decision to pull the plug. “With the unknown of the weather coming in, the severity, we didn’t know if there […]

  • UNA’s Phi Gamma Delta house damaged by fire; not a total loss

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Twenty-four hours after fire ravaged a fraternity house on the UNA campus, there’s optimism at the site on Thursday. The Phi Gamma Delta home received extensive damage, but it doesn’t appear the home will be a total loss. “It’s a little devastating to see some of your memories go up in flames,” FIJI Alumnus Chris Brink stated. Brink could hardly watch as fire fighters battled the blaze Wednesday. With the smoke cleared out on Thursday, the charred […]

  • Former UNA athletic trainer charged with sexual abuse

    FLORENCE, Ala. — Another allegation of sexual misconduct has come out of the University of North Alabama Wednesday. This one involves an indictment handed down against a former athletic department employee. Nicholas Alexander turned himself in at the Lauderdale County Detention Center, charged with sexual abuse. Prosecutors say Alexander was indicted for having inappropriate sexual contact with a student athlete. University of North Alabama officials say allegations were brought to their attention in March. It was at that point the university […]

  • Capital murder suspect enters guilty plea in Muscle Shoals murder, must testify against alleged lover

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – A surprising turn of events in a capital murder case in Colbert County. One of three suspects accused of murdering Jason Fox has pleaded guilty. In a move which surprised most everyone, Ronnie Credille went to prosecutors wanting to plead guilty to capital murder. WHNT News 19 found the plea agreement within several court documents related to the case. In the agreement, Ronnie Credille entered a plea of guilty to capital murder. A second count of capital […]

  • Muscle Shoals man questioned and released in brother’s shooting death

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – A Colbert County man remains in custody following a shooting Monday night which caused the death of his brother. Investigators at the Muscle Shoals Police Department have been busy gathering facts in the shooting death. In a news release, Muscle Shoals police state 23-year-old Lonny Lee Logan sustained at least two gun shots wounds Monday night, he was pronounced dead at Shoals Hospital. The shooting happened at a duplex apartment on Roosevelt Avenue. Police say they […]

  • Local law enforcement happy with military surplus program reinstatement

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday President Trump will be issuing an executive order bringing back the 1033 Program. It puts military surplus into the hands of local law enforcement. One agency in northwest Alabama has benefited tremendously from military surplus. It’s not your typical patrol vehicle. Yes, it’s painted black and white with a light bar, but this Humvee fills a niche for Russellville police. Chief Chris Hargett got this one and several more through the […]

  • Food pantry needs help feeding Colbert County students

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – There’s an effort underway to make sure school children get the meals they need on the weekends. Organizers say the need is much higher than even they expected. Out of a small country church near Leighton big things are happening. The Lila Barnett Area Food Pantry is hosted by Mount Zion AME Church. Sheffield councilwoman Penny Freeman is a member of the congregation. “We live sometimes compartmentalized lives and we think that when children are smiling […]

  • Staffing of public safety employees in Florence at critically low levels

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Public safety divisions in the city of Florence are at critical staffing levels. During a committee meeting this afternoon, Police Chief Ron Tyler outlined the staffing issues his department is seeing. Shock filled the conference room as Tyler read off the numbers. Of the 110 sworn officers his department has, 26 are unable to perform their duties at the moment. There is a variety of reasons for the shortage. Some officers are on military assignment, retirements, extended […]