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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
  • Florence police put their latest equipment to work on the water

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The last two weeks have shown the importance of having a Marine Patrol Division within the Florence Police Department. Last week, it was a major fishing tournament with numerous stranded boaters. Tuesday, heavy traffic on the waterways for the Fourth of July holiday. For years the Florence Police Department has used a boat to patrol the waters, but they have never had anything like their newest acquisition. A multi-use vessel equipped with a ramp and plenty of […]

  • Lauderdale County forced to close heavily traveled bridge over Cypress Creek

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – This week, the Lauderdale Road Department was forced to shut-down a major west to east artery. Years of wear and tear took their toil on Cypress Creek bridge along Lauderdale 16. Hundreds of cars used the bridge on a daily basis, including first responders. “It’s just a quicker route to the Central community and around McGee town. It could take us about another 10 or 15 minutes to get to a call,” said Chief Deputy Richard […]

  • Veteran walking across America to help save fellow veterans

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – It’s a touching story, a man on a life’s journey to help his fellow veterans and soldiers. In March, Joe Copeland left home to walk across America in hopes of drawing attention to a tragic statistic. “Every two miles or so a veteran commits suicide, so it’s something we think about all day long,” said Copeland. Since his departure from Virginia, Copeland has had a lot of time to think. With each step he’s fulfilling a […]

  • Muscle Shoals police seek identity of theft suspect

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Police continue their search for the theft suspect caught on camera. It happened earlier this week in Muscle Shoals and investigators believe someone can identify those involved. Investigators have released pictures of the suspected burglar they are looking for. Taken from a near-by business, they show a vehicle pulling up to a residence on south John R Street. Once inside the homes garage, burglars took numerous power tools. Investigators said the theft happened in the early […]

  • The Spirit of Freedom Celebration is no more, but the fireworks show will go on

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A community has rallied together to revive a fireworks show canceled late last week. Since the cancellation of the Spirit of Freedom Celebration went public Monday afternoon, city leaders in Florence have charged forward in putting together a fireworks show from scratch. It’s one of the largest gatherings on the Fourth of July in northwest Alabama. For 35-years, thousands have lined the banks of the Tennessee River to watch fireworks in the Shoals. “This is a great […]

  • Florence Police identify pedestrian killed in dragging incident as Colbert County Coroner

    FLORENCE, Ala. – “It’s tragedy upon tragedy for this family,” said Florence Police Chief, Ron Tyler. Authorities have confirmed that a pedestrian killed on Monday in a bizarre accident has been identified as the Colbert County Coroner, Carlton Utley. Florence Police say a driver who was pulling a utility trailer was flagged down because something was under his trailer. It was discovered to be the deceased. Authorities say he was dragged for several blocks. “Just no way to describe some […]

  • Sunday alcohol sales to begin in Tuscumbia this weekend

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – History is changing in one of Colbert counties oldest city’s. For close to 200 years, Sunday alcohol sales in Tuscumbia has been outlawed. A page in history is turning this weekend. More than two years ago PoBoy’s moved their restaurant from Florence into downtown Tuscumbia. They’ve seen a rebirth on Main Street and some excitement. But as hard as the city has tried, it’s been hard to get crowds to stay through the weekend. “Sunday seems to […]

  • Woman rescued from submerged car in mall parking lot

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Flash floods can strike quickly and can potentially cause a dangerous situation if you’re in a vehicle. One woman found herself in a submerged vehicle when she drove into a drainage ditch flooded with water at the Southgate Mall in Muscle Shoals. It created a problem at the mall for drivers who were caught off-guard by the heavy rainfall. “There was running water, moving water, across the roadway. When she stopped at the stop sign, the […]

  • Keller Festival organizers talk weather as festivities approach

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Organizers of the 39th annual Helen Keller Festival are keeping a close eye on the weather this week. The threat of heavy rains and flash flooding is not the forecast they want for an outdoor festival. Thursday evening a parade is scheduled to kick-off the festivities; rain or shine. “Plans are let’s go with it and see how it turns out,” stated Sue Pilkinton. Pilkinton is the Executive Director of Ivy Green – Helen’s birthplace. She has […]

  • New President in place at Shoals Chamber of Commerce

    FLORENCE, Ala. – After a year of searching for a new Shoals Chamber of Commerce President, the seat has been filled. The board of directors did not go very far to get the person they were looking for. Inside the walls of the Shoals Economic Center, there’s a new leader at the Shoals Chamber of Commerce. A two-year employee of the chamber, Caitlin Holland recently switched to the president’s office. “It’s just wonderful and exciting to be able to work […]

  • City leaders to debate tennis complex in Florence

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence City Council has a big decision to make. They are weighing whether or not they will move forward with a competition style tennis complex at Veterans Park. For close to a year, there have been talks about building a 31-court tennis complex where four ball fields now sit. Florence Mayor Steve Holt said a feasibility study just returned. “I think the indication is going to be that certainly the community can sustain that number of […]

  • DNA leads to Lauderdale County burglary arrest

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Forensics has helped solve a 2016 store burglary in the Central community. According to the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office, DNA evidence left at Haddock’s Quik Stop on Highway 20 came back to a Tennessee man. Investigator James Bullock said Friday morning Marcus Orlandus Brown was taken into custody in Memphis last week. He has since been transferred to Lauderdale County. Brown is charged with burglary, criminal mischief, theft of property and receiving stolen property. Bullock said […]