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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

Recent Articles
  • food pantry

    Church food pantry offers custom grocery boxes to families in need

    BOAZ, Ala. (WHNT) –  Two years ago, Darrell and Frances Rigsby answered a call to run the food pantry at their church in Boaz. Now, with a team of volunteers and community partners, they provide food to 90 to 100 families a month. On a Thursday night, volunteers are busy getting ready for the next distribution day at Julia Street United Methodist Church in Boaz. Every third Saturday of the month, they give out grocery boxes and they’re custom. So […]

  • Keith Reed

    Operation Making a Difference helping at-risk youth reach their potential

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – His mother was a warden at a girls correctional institution. His father taught him, “There’s always good in all kids.” For years, Keith Reed has known it was his calling in life to help kids succeed in life and that’s exactly what he’s doing. WHNT NEWS 19 Pays it Forward to him and the non-profit organization he founded called Operation Making a Difference. Operation M.A.D., Inc. Executive Director Keith Reed takes the tough love approach with […]

  • Austin High FB

    Austin High Football Team Mom rewarded for years of support

    DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s football season. If you have a child involved in sports, then you know that’s a big undertaking. For more than a decade, one Decatur woman has made it her mission to lighten the load. WHNT NEWS 19 Pays it Forward to Tina Turner, affectionately known as “Momma T”. “This will be my 12th year,” says Turner. Twelve years of coming to football practices at Austin High School. “I don’t really know how it started, but […]

  • ma child nutrition

    WHNT NEWS 19 Taking Action to help children struggling with hunger

    MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s not something people like to think  about, but it’s definitely something we can’t ignore. Children in our community are struggling with hunger – skipping meals or not eating at all because their parents can’t afford food. The Food Bank of North Alabama is working to solve that problem.  One way is to connect local farmers with area school systems. Will Scott is a 5th generation fruit farmer. Scott’s Orchard is part of the food […]


    4H Chick Chain Project teaching kids responsibility, business skills

    NEW HOPE, Ala. (WHNT) – You get ten baby chicks, 20 weeks to raise them and a chance to learn and win prizes. Sounds like fun, right? Glenda Self nominated 4H Regional Agent Nikki Cornelison and the Chick Chain Project, which is funded by donations. Cornelison and the chickens have made a huge impact on Self’s grandson, Lane Pilotte. Lane Pilotte is practically a chicken whisperer. “I like their feathers and to watch how they grow,” says Pilotte. The 10-year-old […]

  • Trent Griffin

    Huntsville man repairs bikes and mentors kids in the process

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Kids absolutely love to ride bikes. A Huntsville man is using that as an opportunity to mentor kids and teach them about responsibility. For the last year, Trent Griffin has been a Mr. Fix It for children in the north Huntsville neighborhood where he lives. “The Bike Kids”, as he calls them, have come to respect and rely on him. Griffin is a NASA physicist by day and a neighborhood bike specialist by night. “This is […]

  • Huntsville Assistance Program

    The Huntsville Assistance Program helping financially strapped families

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Sometimes you hit a bump in the road and need help. When those situations pop up, there’s a group in Huntsville that’s making sure people get through them. WHNT NEWS 19 pays it forward to The Huntsville Assistance Program. Whether the struggle is financial or emotional, The Huntsville Assistance Program is here to help. “We can help you pay your rent, utilities, and mortgage,” describes Director Gayla Kidd.  “We listen to you and we care about […]

  • The Caring House

    The Caring House helping children grieve in a healthy way

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – When someone dies, it’s really an awful thing to deal with for those left behind. One organization making sure kids in Madison County aren’t forgotten during the difficult grieving process. WHNT NEWS 19 pays it forward to The Caring House of Hospice Family Care. When kids lose someone, grief can get ugly. That’s what The Caring House of Hospice Family Care wants to prevent. “What we do is provide a creative and safe place for kids […]

  • DrowingAndRace

    Taking Action Special Report: Drowning & Race

    MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Drownings are devastating. Unfortunately, they happen often. Just this year, WHNT NEWS 19 reported on nine drowning deaths involving people in the Tennessee Valley. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. Males, children ages 1 to 4 and minorities are most at risk. WHNT NEWS 19 is Taking Action to make sure you understand how serious of an issue […]

  • Women Betrayed Rally

    Protesters gather at Women Betrayed rally in Huntsville

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) –  Standing up for what’s right. A small, but passionate group of people rallied outside of the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville today. They’re anti-abortion and against Planned Parenthood, after harsh accusations and videos surfaced of the organization selling fetal body parts. Protestors in Huntsville joined others across the country in the Women Betrayed rally. The signs they held up have a clear message – they want to stop abortion and the sale of body parts. “We […]

  • Good Samaritans of Huntsville

    Good Samaritans of Huntsville providing food, supplies to people in need

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Feeding people, passing out hygiene items and getting homeless people off the streets and into housing – that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways our Pay it Forward recipient is helping the homeless in Huntsville. Jennifer Banks sent WHNT NEWS 19 an email, which reads in part: “Penny McGlathery works day and night, in spite of her own health issues, and uses her personal  money for the ones less fortunate.  […]

  • This picture is from the 2014 GirlChic Boutique, which was held at Sparkman High School.

    GirlNaturale empowering girls to love and embrace their natural selves

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s okay to be your natural self. That’s the message one local non-profit is spreading in our community. GirlNaturale is empowering girls and young women to love and embrace themselves. WHNT NEWS 19 surprised them with a Pay it Forward, as they’re gearing up for a big event. For Bridget and Victoria Jones, this is more than just a storage unit. “Pretty much, this right here is like ground zero,” describes Bridget Jones. It’s filled with […]


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