Interactive Radar: Thunderstorms move through the Tennessee Valley Tuesday morning
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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
  • Former Police Chief Wayne Burns

    Former Tuscumbia Police Chief passes away Wednesday morning

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – The American Flag has been lowered to half-staff as the Tuscumbia Police Department mourns the loss of a family member. Former Police Chief Wayne Burns died Wednesday morning at his home in Tuscumbia, after a lengthy illness. Burns served the police department for 35-years, almost 20 of those as Chief. “He genuinely loved this city and this police department,” current Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan explained. “He stayed in some battles at times with elected officials through […]

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    Felony complaint released in case against Tuscumbia man accused of abusing infant

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    Organizers turning to youth to keep King’s dream alive in Shoals

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – Under gray skies and showers, hundreds marched the downtown streets of Russellville Monday morning. They showed up as a sign of unity, keeping the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alive, a society of equality. “If it had not been for him giving his life for the opportunity we got now, then we would still be where we was,” Reverend Charlie Burgess explained. Reverend Burgess walked aside King in Selma. He faced the struggles head-on. At […]

  • Butler Cain is Chair of the Communications Department at the University of North Alabama. (Photo: Carter Watkins/WHNT News 19)

    Communications professor incorporates topic of “fake news” in lessons to UNA students

    FLORENCE, Ala. – With the explosion of social media in the last 10 years, many are left wondering what is true and not true when something comes across their news feed.  Professors in the University of North Alabama’s Communications department are tackling that very question with students. January 11 was the first day of classes on the University of North Alabama campus.  Butler Cain is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Communications Department.  He wasted no time diving into […]

  • Police say Jason Fox was killed inside his home on Grand Avenue in Muscle Shoals on August 12, 2016. (Photo: Carter Watkins/WHNT News 19)

    Muscle Shoals police update on third arrest in Jason Fox murder

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    Campus police seek man who tried stealing from UNA mascots

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The University of North Alabama Police Department is looking for a man who tried to steal money from the school`s mascots. Just before 10-pm on December 31st most people were getting ready to ring in the new year. UNA Police say this man seen on surveillance had something else in mind. As he strolled campus, investigators said he walked up to the lion habitat and tried to steal money from the donation box. The money is used […]

  • Shannon Johnson (Photo: WHNT News 19)

    Jury still deliberating in Shannon Johnson’s murder trial

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    Florence Police see drastic drop in crime over the past two decades

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    Mother arrested in Franklin County child rape case

    RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. – A Franklin County woman is behind bars, facing the same charges as the man who is accused of sexually assaulting her daughter. Authorities call this a very disturbing case. Just outside the Russellville city limits, Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said an 8-year-old girl was raped and sodomized. The assailant, a man who was staying with the victim and her mother. “It’s sickening to think someone could do that to a child,” Oliver said. Sheriff Oliver said […]

  • April Johnson

    Florence Police arrest woman for DUI, find her 2 young children home alone half a day later

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police say a series of bad decisions over the weekend left two small children home alone, while their mother sat behind bars. In the early morning hours of Saturday, 31-year-old April Johnson was arrested for driving under the influence. She was then booked into the Lauderdale County Detention Center. “Twelve hours later, a jailer is having a conversation and learns there may be two children that are unattended inside a home, and these children are 3 years […]

  • Investigators escort Joey Vaughn to an awaiting vehicle, on his way to jail. (WHNT News 19)

    WHNT Exclusive: Lauderdale County deputies arrest “Hamburglar” using forensics

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    Roads in northern Lauderdale County left slippery after morning snow

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