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
  • Division II Championship Committee Needs Ticket Sales For Competitive Bid

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The right to host the Division II national championship is up for grabs.  The game has been played in the Shoals for nearly three decades. A Shoals National Championship committee has just a few days left to get the best bid together. Organizers say individual ticket sales are lagging. “Everybody`s heard about it, their support is up to them, what they do for us is all about what they want to do,” said Shoals National Championship […]

  • Counterfeit Bills Circulate Through Shoals

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) -Florence Police say counterfeit bills are circulating around the Shoals. According to investigators, one woman was caught on camera buying hundreds of dollars worth of clothes, but now the store is out the money. Florence Police say after going on a shopping spree at Belk in Regency Square Mall, the suspect is ready to check-out. The cashier examined the cash, but still takes the money for the purchase. Detectives say the bills were actually five dollar bills […]

  • Tuscumbia Police Confiscate Thousands of Stolen Prescription Pills

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) Tuscumbia police get a big break in several pharmacy burglaries.  Investigators confiscated thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen prescription pills. Detectives spent hours today sorting through six garbage bags full of drugs. According to police, the stolen pills came from burglaries at Fred’s Pharmacy and Family Pharmacy, over the past few months. “This is a lot of drugs that won`t be hitting the streets and won`t be getting in the hands of our children, and people who […]

  • Possible Grave Robbery Interrupted in Limestone County Cemetery

    LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) Fresh dirt at a cemetery isn’t too out of the ordinary, after a recent burial.  However, fresh dirt around graves dating back to the 1800’s has Limestone County detectives, investigating a possible modern day grave robbery. Authorities say two graves were dug about two feet deep at the OId Bullington Cemetery. “Any family member has a right to expect when a person is buried, no one will go by to disrupt or disturb their resting place […]

  • Coon Dogs Honored At Labor Day Ceremony

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – For many hunters, a good coon dog becomes part of the family.  Hundreds of people flock to Coon Dog Cemetery in Colbert County every year on Labor Day. This Labor Day was no different, as people visited the site to pay tribute to their dogs. “I thought the world of that old dog,” said Scott Hollimon of his long time hunting companion, Patches. Hollimon says Patches was a night champion.  At one time, Hollimon and […]

  • UNA Students Swap Shirts to Promote the Pride

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) It’s out with the old, and in with new for students at the University of North Alabama. Students are swapping their t-shirts, to build the pride, and promote school spirit. Most days it doesn’t take long to spot someone supporting another school, as students walk to class at UNA. “I`m proud of UNA, I like UNA,” said a student wearing a Crimson Tide shirt.  WHNT asked:  “What about the shirt?”  “Well I like Alabama too.” It’s this […]

  • Division II National Championship Up For Bid: Leaders Want to “Keep It In the Shoals”

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) –  A 27 year tradition in Florence could be making a move. The Division II national championship game is up for bid, and several communities are interested. Community leaders are making a push to “Keep It In the Shoals.” With those championship games at Braly Stadium, hundreds of thousands of families and fans have flocked to Florence and millions of dollars poured into the Shoals economy. “It can`t get much better than this area, the hospitality, what […]

  • Tuscumbia Police Dedicated To Cold Case On Year Anniversary

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – On the evening of August 28th, 2012, Tuscumbia Police was on the scene of a deadly home invasion. Elbert Davis was beaten and killed in his basement on High Street. With little evidence, and no witnesses, Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan says, he knew this investigation would be difficult. However Chief Logan wants the victim’s family and the community, this case is still a top priority in his department. According to Locan, the past year has […]

  • Lauderdale County Drug Task Force Busts Meth Lab

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Lauderdale County Drug Task Force agents served a search warrant at 1387 Co Rd 143 in Florence, Wednesday morning.   Agents arrested James Bennett Gautney, 50, for the following charges: Unlawful Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance 1st Attempt to Commit a Controlled Substance Crime (8 counts) Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance Jennifer Kumse Cole McDaniel, 36, was also taken into custody and charged with the following crimes: Unlawful Possession of […]

  • Family: Girl Saves 4-Year-Old Brother From Dog Attack

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) – An amazing story of childhood bravery out of the Shoals:  an 8-year-old is credited with saving her brother from a dog attack. Family members say they are grateful both children are alive and well. “That was the scariest thing I’ve ever went through,” said the victim’s grandmother, Shelia Bradford. Witnesses to the dog attack say a pit bull first jumped on 4-year-old Desmond Tolbert. “I was terrified, all I could see was that dog killing one […]

  • Definition of Junk Expands In Muscle Shoals

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Muscle Shoals is taking a tough look at trash. The city council stiffened it`s junk ordinance, in an attempt to clean up the city. The new ordinance outlines what qualifies as junk and includes things like metals, furniture, old tires and broken down equipment.  Many common things anyone can find while taking a drive through town. “It`s not to pick on anybody or go after anybody,” said Tandy Crosswhite with the Muscle Shoals Building and […]

  • Enrollment Soars At Florence City Schools

    FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – More students than ever are walking through the halls of Florence City School’s eight campuses. This year hundreds of students in the school district traded in their textbooks for the latest technology. Others are studying from home, in a virtual classroom, and still more are participating in the Florence High School Fine Arts Academy.  Superintendent Janet Womack credits all these options for drawing more students than ever. “It`s an exciting time to be a child in […]