Melissa Payne joined WHNT News 19 as a reporter in December 2011 after working as a weekend anchor and reporter at KDLT News in Sioux Falls, SD. Before heading south, Melissa also worked as a reporter at News 25 in Evansville, IN. Now, Melissa is ready to explore all of northern Alabama, as she covers the Shoals for WHNT News 19.

Melissa spent her college years cheering on the Cardinals at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. While at Ball State, Melissa studied telecommunications and reported and anchored for NewsLink Indiana.

Melissa also interned at WTVW in Evansville, Indiana and WANE-TV in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Always ready for an adventure, Melissa studied abroad in the Ghana for five months. Melissa says her experience in the African country was truly eye opening and humbling.

“This experience was more challenging than I ever expected, but I was excited to stretch myself to new lengths, step outside my comfort zone, and experience a culture so different than my own,” said Payne.

While abroad, Melissa traveled all over West Africa, visiting rural villages, meeting tribal chiefs, and volunteering her time with Planting Technology International, a non-profit organization that builds computer labs and donates computers to schools in rural villages.

As a reporter, Melissa wants to tell the stories that mean the most to you. You can e-mail her your story ideas, and for news updates throughout the day, you can follow Melissa on Twitter: @melissapayn

Recent Articles
  • Task Force Studies High-Speed Internet Possibilities in Franklin County

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The thought of some Alabama communities still surfing the net on dial-up Internet is shocking to many, but it’s a reality for residents in Franklin County. Now there’s a revived push to get broadband Internet to the area. Franklin County Representative Johnny Mack Morrow says his county is being left in the dust technologically. “2013 of course is the age of communication,” said Morrow.  “Being able to communicate is critical for our businesses and our […]

  • Florence Employees May Receive Pay Raise

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Florence city employees will likely be getting a little extra in their pay-checks next year. A solid year of revenue income translates to proposed pay-raises for city workers. “I do believe they do a great job in doing what they do and they are our most valuable asset,” said Mayor, Mickey Haddock. Mayor Haddock says this pay raise proposal was unexpected by many. Last year, city employees got a three percent raise, but nothing for the […]

  • Lauderdale County Investigators Seek Shooting Suspect

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A Shoals man remains in the hospital recovering from three gunshot wounds after a shooting Monday. So far, no one is in custody for the crime. Lauderdale County investigators need your help piecing together the evidence. According to investigators the victim was driving with his girlfriend in the Anderson area, when their car broke down. The victim told detectives a man walked up and shot him once in the chest with a rifle and then […]

  • State Leaders Offer Resources For International Paper Employees

    LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -The closing of International Paper sent shock waves through Lawrence County and surrounding areas. Employees and their families are still reeling from the news. Alabama Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard and Representative Ken Johnson addressed the plant closure and offered some hope to the people affected. The law makers say a “rapid response team” will start meeting with people next week to inform them of the lay-off stages, and what they need to do now […]

  • Alabama Career Center Ready For International Paper Employees

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) – The announcement that International Paper is closing its Courtland plant is impacting thousands of people. With 1,100 employees, the plant is Lawrence County’s largest employer. Some of those employees have already begun their job search.  One resource is the Alabama Career Center in Sheffield. The staff urges job seekers to start looking now. “We expect over time we will see an increase in folks from International Paper,” said manager Jim Cook.  “We are seeing a few […]

  • Family: Matthew Fox Denied Parole in Amanda Taylor Case

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — A Colbert County man convicted in connection to the murder of a Shoals woman was denied parole Wednesday. Matthew Fox, 21, was denied parole, according to Billy Leeth, who is the father of the victim, Amanda Taylor.  Leeth and other family members traveled to Montgomery to speak at the hearing. Fox pleaded guilty to abuse of a corpse and hindering prosecution in connection to the Taylor’s death. Fox pleaded guilty to dismembering Taylor’s body. Prosecutors also […]

  • Lawrence County Schools Budget Impacted By Paper Mill Shutdown

    LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala (WHNT) – The trickle-down effect of international Paper closing its Courtland plant continues. Hundreds of families and businesses are reeling.  Even the Lawrence County School System is concerned about the impact this announcement will have on the district’s budget. Every school year, International Paper provides the school district with paper for the classrooms, for students, and staff.  That’s about a $50,000 contribution.  However, Lawrence County Schools Superintendent, Heath Grimes says the loss of this paper donation is […]

  • Enrollment Decline Reported at the University of North Alabama

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – After a spike in admission just two years ago, the University of North Alabama is reporting a decrease in enrollment this school year. University leaders are actively working to regain that student population. School officials say the decrease came as a surprise, because more freshmen were admitted to the university than ever before.  However, with a small freshmen class, several prospective students chose not to study at UNA. “We`re not particularly alarmed about it,” said University […]

  • Police Solicit Tips To Catch Masked Robber

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s back to business as usual at First Metro Bank on Ana Drive but Florence Police are still looking for a man who tried to get some fast cash. Florence Police say a First Metro Bank employee called 9-1-1 to report a robbery attempt.  The teller relayed the usual descriptions of height, and weight, but when she got to his clothing, the clerk added, the man had on a clown mask. According to investigators, the suspect […]

  • Florence Man Sentenced to Life for Escape Charge, Still Faces Murder Trial

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – A judge sentenced a Florence man to life in prison Thursday for escaping from custody.  He still faces another trial for murder, though. Shannon Ray Johnson pleaded guilty to resisting arrest in 2011.  He was sentenced to six months of work release. It was during that time prosecutors say Johnson walked away.  A jury found him guilty. Johnson is accused of murdering Keith Barnett near the Alabama/Tennessee line.  His brother, Shawn Johnson, was previously tried and convicted […]

  • First African American Student Returns To UNA Campus

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The first African American student ever enrolled at what is now the University of North Alabama returned to tell his story during the fall convocation, on the 50th anniversary of desegregation. Wendell Wilkie Gunn made his mark on campus, so thousands more could follow in his footsteps. Gunn was initially denied admission to Florence State University and had to get a court order so he could step onto the as a student for the first time. […]

  • Input Requested For Muscle Shoals Superintendent Search

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WHNT) The Alabama Association of School Boards is gearing up for the Muscle Shoals superintendent search.  The board wants parents, teachers, and stakeholders to take a survey, in order to better prepare for picking the next school leader. The survey will be open through Sunday, Sept. 22. It is designed to identify skills, traits and experiences that employees and the community believe the board should look for when choosing the new superintendent. The results are strictly anonymous. […]