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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
  • rodney smith

    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 […]

  • 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 […]


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