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Clarissa McClain anchors WHNT News 19 at 6:00 with Greg Screws and WHNT News 19 at 10:00 with Jerry Hayes. She also brings you our weekly Pay It Forward segment Mondays on WHNT News 19 at 6:30.

Helping people, keeping them informed, and inspiring them is what drives her passion for news. Her personal philosophy: “Everyone has a story — good or bad, happy or sad — It’s my job to share it with others. One story has the power to change many lives.”

One would think after years of pretending to be Vanna White, staging talk shows in her parent’s living room, and developing a slight obsession with makeup, she would have known all along that she was destined for a future in television. But it took her four years and two academic major changes to figure it out. In 2005, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from Auburn University. WAR EAGLE!!!

Her broadcasting career began with an internship with the award-winning Investigative Team at FOX5 News in Atlanta, Georgia. Shortly after that, she landed her first job at WTVY News 4 in Dothan, Alabama. Clarissa spent one year in the Wiregrass, reporting on a range of topics from city government to the Enterprise tornado disaster. In April 2007, she moved to North Alabama to work at WHNT-TV.

In 2014, Clarissa and several of her colleagues received a regional Emmy award for “Boys & Girls”, a special report on the Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama.

Clarissa is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but loves living in the Tennessee Valley. Clarissa is a newlywed. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, hanging out with friends, traveling, and cooking.

On her top five list of favorite things: two hour naps, shoe sales, singing loud and very off key in the car, old Disney movies, and playing with her terribly spoiled pooch Elle.

Email Clarissa a story idea to clarissa.mcclain@whnt.com.


Recent Articles
  • We surprised Suzanne Carter with $319, and she said it will go right back to the Athens Animal Shelter.

    Athens Limestone Animal Shelter volunteer recognized

    ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – She’s a full-time volunteer with a heart full of love and compassion for animals. At the Athens Limestone Animal Shelter, Suzanne Carter is well known and loved. In fact, one woman and the shelter staff were thrilled to see her get recognition. Six years ago, a post on Facebook tugged at Carter’s heartstrings. “I saw the shelter page and there was a little dog that needed a foster home,” recalls Carter. “I went through and someone […]

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    The Tent City Project brings supplies to homeless camps

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Taking the help to the homeless. That’s the goal of one local effort that’s grown from a simple socks and blanket drive to a massive effort to stock those living on the streets with supplies for the entire winter. WHNT NEWS 19 Pays it Forward to the Tent City Project. After her garage got full of boxes, Amy Mansell and volunteers starting packing this storage unit. “Socks , underwear, clothes, jackets, blankets, food, water, hygiene products, […]

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    Medical procedure provides new, less invasive option for heart patients

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Open heart surgery is a very serious procedure. What if you’re too old or too sick to survive it? In the past, many patients were turned away, forced to deal with some pretty bad symptoms. Now, there are more options. WHNT NEWS 19 explains how one of them works. Henry Mattern is 91 years old and still active. “I try to walk a couple miles a day and I do water exercises,” says Mattern. He didn’t […]

  • Images: Thinkstock

    WHNT News 19 tackles touchy subject of appearance in the workplace

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – We have many rights in this country. For example, we have the right to free speech and to bear arms. Do you have the right to choose how you look at your job? A lot of people feel the answer to that question is hands down ‘yes.’ Not so fast! In many professions, mine included as a broadcast journalist, that’s not always an option. My hair, clothes, jewelry, makeup are all subject to management’s approval. WHNT […]

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    Christmas Angels ministry provides gifts for families in need

    HAZEL GREEN, Ala. (WHNT) – Christmas is next week. Thanks to the efforts of some sweet ladies in Hazel Green, seven families will have gifts under the tree. The volunteer group calls themselves the “Christmas Angels” and is spearheaded by Linda Taylor. Their goal is to make sure it’s merry on Christmas morning. Whether it’s filling bags of candy or organizing presents, these ladies are busy getting gift boxes ready. “It’s really a ministry as well, it’s not just charity,” […]

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    Room in the Inn Shoals offers the homeless refuge from the cold

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT)  – It’s only going to get colder in the coming months and not everyone has a warm place to go to escape. A volunteer based group in Florence is stepping up offer options to those without a home. There’s really only one shelter in the Shoals area with 30 beds. Clearly, that’s not enough when there’s roughly 250 people who are considered homeless. WHNT NEWS 19 Pays it Forward to Room in the Inn Shoals, as they […]

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    Huntsville man gives back by cutting grass for single moms and elderly residents

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Many people consider cutting grass a cumbersome chore. However, one Huntsville man does it to show kindness. Rodney Smith Jr. is on a mission to cut 100 yards before winter for the elderly and single moms. He’s doing it for free! WHNT NEWS 19 surprised Smith to Pay it Forward. WHNT NEWS 19 caught up with Smith right before he started on another yard to give him $319. “Is this April Fool’s?” asks Smith. Smith quickly […]

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    Huntsville Hospital employee honored for dedication to a tough job

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – When you’re going through something devastating, you want to be surrounded by people who care. One woman knows that first hand and helps others get through the pain. WHNT NEWS 19 received a nomination about Penny Owensby, a patient family representative at Huntsville Hospital. Cindi Bradley writes, “Penny Owensby is amazing and has experienced things none of us would ever imagine. You pray you never need her services, but if you have to, there is no […]

  • Blanket drive

    Blanket drive helps the homeless survive the cold weather months

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – As the temperature drops, there are people who don’t have the luxury of going into a warm home to escape the cold weather. WHNT NEWS 19 is paying it forward to an organization that’s working to make sure they are safe on the street. Life on the street can be cold, figuratively and literally. “When you live on the street, things get muddy and ruined and they get gone,” explains Lynn Bullard, who serves as the […]

  • Project PJs

    Project PJs provides cozy sleepwear to nursing home residents

    FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) – We relax in them and sleep too! Pajamas are a cozy clothing item, but not everyone has a pair. One Dekalb County woman is determined to change that. For the past two years, she’s been making sure nursing home residents have their own pajamas. WHNT NEWS 19 pays it forward to Lynn Santiago. For Santiago, this all started in August of 2013. “I just kept feeling like there was something I needed to do, but […]

  • Alix Morehouse

    Huntsville woman offers supplies and hope to those living in homeless camps

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Whether it’s handing out bottled water or simply having  a conversation, a Huntsville woman is dedicated to helping those living on the street. WHNT NEWS 19 received a glowing nomination about Pay it Forward recipient Alix Morehouse. In an email, Jeniffer Rodgers writes, “Alix visits the homeless camps of Huntsville several times throughout the week. She is truly a selfless individual who deserves to be recognized for what she does.” In the place that’s given her […]

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    Madison Animal Rescue Foundation saving homeless and abandoned animals

    MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – When animals aren’t adopted at the shelter in Madison, they are put down. One group of passionate volunteers is working to not only save animals from being euthanized, but place them in loving homes. WHNT NEWS 19 is paying it forward to the Madison Animal Rescue Foundation. “It’s all about the animals,” says Miki Bennett. Seven years ago, Bennett started MARF – the short name for the Madison Animal Rescue Foundation. Dogs and cats are rescued […]

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