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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
  • Sherry Kolodziejczak

    Crestwood therapist passionate about volunteering, giving back to others

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Seven. That’s the number of boards and/or committees this week’s Pay it Forward recipient serves on. Eighteen represents the number of subjects she presents workshops on in the community. From her job as an occupational therapist at Crestwood Therapy Services to her other job as a community servant, obviously Sherry Kolodziejczak stays busy. She says a deep passion for helping others is what drives her, not recognition, which is why we had to come up with […]

  • RocketChef111014-0010

    Rocket Chef culinary competition returns to Merrimack Hall on August 10th

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Rocket Chef is returning to Huntsville this August. The event features four talented chefs, cooking under time restraints, using mystery ingredients. This unique fundraiser benefits the Food Bank of North Alabama and Merrimack Hall’s Johnny Stallings Arts Program. WHNT NEWS 19 introduces you to this year’s competitors. Chef Steven Bunner from 1892 East is a Huntsville native and says he will enjoy cooking on stage at Merrimack Hall. “I’m not a very shy person,” says Bunner. […]

  • crestwood gift shop

    Random acts of kindness at Crestwood Medical Center

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Sometimes it’s nice to just do something for someone else not for any particular reason, just because. That’s what WHNT NEWS 19 did this week at Crestwood Medical Center. We surprised people with random acts of kindness. First, we headed to the cafeteria. Many folks were pleasantly surprised to find out that lunch was on us! “You don’t have to pay today,” the cashier told one woman. “Oh, thank you!” she replied. It didn’t take us […]

  • Shelia Burnett

    Grissom High School cafeteria manager rewarded for generous efforts

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – School may be out for most students, but some folks are working to make sure kids get what they need year round. Shelia Burnett is one of them. She manages the cafeteria at Grissom High School and treats the kids like they’re her own. John Ward told us about Burnett in his nomination email. He writes, “Shelia is a very hard worker, but what makes her so deserving is that she never lets a child go […]

  • Sandy Cross

    Huntsville Hospital R.N. creates the Breast Cancer Patient Assistance Fund

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Getting a breast cancer diagnosis is really hard. Navigating the process also has its challenges, including financial ones. One woman’s job is to help patients get through those hardships. WHNT NEWS 19  went to Huntsville Hospital to Pay it Forward to a special R.N. named Sandy Cross. Several times a week, registered nurse Sandy Cross meets with newly diagnosed cancer patients at Huntsville Hospital’s Women’s Pavilion. Her goal is to be their guide. “As the breast […]

  • second chance animal shelter

    Second Chance Animal Shelter committed to finding homes for stray dogs

    BOAZ, Ala. (WHNT) – A Marshall County couple’s passion is saving dogs from dying and finding them good homes. In 2008, they started the Second Chance Animal Shelter in Boaz. After receiving two email nominations about the McGees, WHNT NEWS 19 headed to Boaz to Pay it Forward. From puppies with precious faces to older dogs with somber eyes from years of being overlooked, the Second Chance Animal Shelter in Boaz is where they’ve ended up. Hundreds of abandoned or […]

  • marshall county guardianship program

    Marshall County Guardianship Program helps care for elderly citizens

    GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – There are so many elderly people who get abused, neglected or don’t have anyone to properly care for them. They deserve better. The Marshall County Guardianship Program is filling in that gap. The Marshall County Guardianship Program is helping older adults, who have been deemed incompetent by the probate court. The non-profit provides legal volunteer guardians to serve and support the person. “It’s our citizens of Marshall County and a lot of them are elderly,” says […]

  • ACTS of Huntsville

    A.C.T.S. of Huntsville helping people overcome addiction

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Breaking the bonds of addiction. A local organization is working hard to help people overcome substance abuse and live a full life. WHNT NEWS 19 pays it forward to A.C.T.S. of Huntsville. “Anything can be found except for time wasted. A vision without action is merely a dream.” That’s one of many messages written on an A.C.T.S. of Huntsville banner. A.C.T.S. stands for Alcohol Chemical Treatment Series. “Addiction is out of control,” says Anthony Steelman. “Everyone […]

  • Northwest Alabama Reading Aides

    Northwest Alabama Reading Aides sharing the gift of literacy

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Teaching adults to read is a simple, but incredibly valuable mission. WHNT NEWS 19 pays it forward to the Northwest Alabama Reading Aides. Not being able to read puts you at a severe disadvantage. “Of course, if they can’t read, they’re so limited,” says Jim Green, Northwest Alabama Reading Aides Director. “You can’t find a good job, can’t fill out an application, can’t read a pill bottle or contracts.” It makes people vulnerable. “We had one […]

  • CASA of Jackson County food pantry

    CASA of Jackson County helping people overcome hunger and poverty

    SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) – Hunger is a very real issue that people deal with every day. It’s also an issue that drives caring volunteers to help those struggling with it. A sobering sight prompted Lisa Smith to send WHNT NEWS 19 an email. Smith writes, “At CASA of Jackson County, weekly, I see a lot of people that go without food. I know they can use the money.  I would love for you to pay it forward to them.”  We […]

  • sunny horizons

    Sunny Horizons offering therapy and support for special needs community

    SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) – Sunny Horizons is a place where special needs children and their families feel embraced and encouraged. The owner, Lisa Ayers, and her staff really touched one woman. Stephanie Bohannon wrote in to WHNT NEWS 19 saying, “They built a wonderful sensory gym that’s open to the public, put on Scottsboro’s first autism awareness walk, and host autism support meetings at the office providing snacks and drinks at no charge. They are doing wonderful things for our […]

  • The BRIC

    The BRIC offers safe, social pop-up events for area teens

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Around Huntsville, it’s not unusual to see groups of teenagers hang out in parking lots late at night. Many parents would agree that’s not the best environment. One of those parents decided to do something about it. The BRIC kicked off last fall. Founder and Executive Director Rachel Rutledge says it’s been on her heart for years to put together fun and safe social activities for teens. So far, it seems to be going well. Several […]


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