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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
  • MARF

    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 […]

  • Haggermakers

    Limestone County family prepares free holiday meals for community

    ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – A Limestone County woman and her family can’t bear the thought of someone going hungry, especially on the holidays. For the last four years, they’ve prepared free Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for the community. WHNT NEWS 19 Pays it Forward to Roxanne Haggermaker, who starts planning for these events early. “Pies, cakes, cookies, peach cobbler, broccoli salad, pea salad, potato salad, sweet potatoes, casseroles, and rolls,” says Haley Haggermaker, as she lists all the food items […]

  • The Haven

    The Haven offers homework help and support for at-risk kids

    ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – When school lets out, there’s a place for at-risk kids to go to stay out of trouble and get help with homework. The Haven is provides a safe environment in one Athens neighborhood and WHNT NEWS 19 is providing $319. “The Haven is this little house that’s located in north Athens,” describes Beth Patton, a board member for Mission Athens, which is the non-profit organization that operates The Haven. The house may be little, but the […]


    Volunteer line dance instructor surprised with $319 at a group class

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – WHNT NEWS 19 is paying it forward to a woman that has found a way to combine her love for teaching and dancing. As a volunteer line dance instructor at the Huntsville-Madison County Senior Center, Judy Graf has touched the lives of a lot of people. One of those people emailed us asking that Graf be recognized for her volunteer efforts at the center, her church and with the Civitan Club. In the nomination from Faye […]

  • Larry Vance

    Huntsville man volunteers year-round to support kids and community

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Larry Vance, this week’s Pay it Forward recipient, is a dedicated volunteer, who’s involved in community service projects all year. Here’s a portion of the nomination email from Emma Hankins: “Larry Vance worked to purchase new suits for graduating high school seniors, called Suits for Scholars. He created the program to inspire students to give back to others when they make it in their careers.” “Growing up, I didn’t have a whole lot,” says Vance. “We […]

  • Our Taking Action Investigation "The Missing" airs Thursday, September 24 on WHNT News 19 at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.

    WHNT NEWS 19 Special Report: New tools help parents find missing children quickly

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s a looming fear that hangs over the heads of many parents – your child runs off and you can’t find him or her. In our special report, “The Missing”, WHNT NEWS 19 is Taking Action to help parents who want to be proactive. Losing a child is a scary thing to think about. If they’re unable to speak because of a shy personality or medical condition, that thought is even more terrifying. However, there are […]

  • Care bear ministry

    Care Bear Ministry helps make hospital visits less scary for children

    MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Being in the hospital can be scary for kids. Sometimes, a simple thing like having a bear to hold on to can make all the difference. That desire to make a difference is the driving force behind a local effort. The Care Bear ministry has been going strong for more than 25 years. Dedicated men and women at the Madison Church of Christ make 300 bears a month, by hand, for kids in the hospital. WHNT […]

  • 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 […]


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