Bad Behavior: The latest on accusations of bad behavior in the Marshall County Jail
  • Follow me on:

Life through the lens. For more than 20 years I have been fortunate enough to be a member of the WHNT News 19 family. The best part, I’ve been able to do so in the area I grew up in – “The Shoals”. A Florence native, I attended Florence City Schools and graduated from Coffee High School before attending the University of North Alabama (Roar Lions!).

In high school the photography bug latched on and I learned the craft of still photography and developing pictures while working on the yearbook staff. Those skills evolved into an interest in videography and journalism while in college. I had a family member working in the news industry at the time, so I was able to tag along to events and get the behind the scenes culture.

Nearing the end of my college career, I landed my first television job at WOWL TV-15 in Florence. At the time, the station produced two newscasts a day and was the Shoals NBC affiliate. I learned everything from running master control to teleprompter, shooting news video and honing my skills of editing and writing. There’s nothing like the first television job and being exposed to all facets of the building.

After my time at WOWL, I packed up my car and headed to Tupelo, MS for a photographer position with WTVA News 9. While there, I built my skills of photography and editing. Covering most of north Mississippi, I was exposed to all sorts of news events, validating my decision of making this a career I would love.

Months after arriving in Mississippi, WHNT News 19 called me home. Starting as an editor/photographer in Huntsville, I quickly proved myself and was promoted to the position of photographer in the Shoals Bureau. While working in the bureau I have had the chance to work with many distinguished journalists and received numerous state awards from my peers.

Telling the story of our residents in the Shoals is what makes each and every day so fulfilling for me. Which is why in December of 2015, I decided to move from behind the camera and begin reporting full time as Shoals Bureau Chief for WHNT News 19. This was a step of faith, and so far I have loved it. Our residents and viewers here have been so supportive in this new role, which makes me wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.

If you ever have a story idea, please reach out to me through one of several ways. You can email me at, or contact me through social media. My official Facebook page is “Carter Watkins WHNT” or on Twitter at “WHNT Shoals”.

What do I enjoy away from work? I love Jesus, wood-working, home projects, nature and theatre. My family and I are active members of Faith Church in Florence. I also volunteer with the Gingerbread Players of the Shoals Theatre (a children’s theatre group).

Recent Articles
  • Daniel Spurgeon returns to Lauderdale County for prosecution for child sex abuse charges

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – It’s one of the most troubling cases of child sex abuse the Shoals has seen in a long time. A husband and wife stand accused of abusing adopted and foster children in their custody. On Friday a significant development in the case occurred. Since his indictment on dozens of charges nearly a year ago in Lauderdale County, Daniel Wayne Spurgeon has been in Florida facing criminal charges there; that has now changed. According to the Lauderdale […]

  • More doctors being recruited for new Florence hospital

    FLORENCE, Ala. – As the opening of a new hospital in Florence draws closer – several changes are on the horizon. Administrators of the North Alabama Medical Center are “upping their game” when it comes to health-care in the Shoals. It’s been impressive to watch the North Alabama Medical Center rise from the dirt in just over 18-months. Scheduled to open in early December, it will replace the aging and outdated ECM Hospital. Hospital Administrator Russell Pigg has been taking […]

  • Florence road rage shooting remains unsolved; victim recovering

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A road rage shooting which injured a woman in Florence last week remains unsolved. Florence police are still hopeful the public can shed some light on the person who shot a Colbert County 911 dispatcher while in a truck. A dark-colored Chevrolet Cruze thought to be involved in the road rage shooting on July fourth is the only concrete clue Florence police have. Investigators say the Cruze chased down the victims along Chisholm Road at 1:15 in the […]

  • Northwest Alabama looks to benefit from Toyota-Mazda plant

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Thursday morning Shoals business leaders received an update on the effects the Toyota-Mazda manufacturing facility in Huntsville will have on all of north Alabama. Right now recruitment efforts are well underway for those manufacturers who will support the main plant. There is a skeleton of a building going up at the Rogersville Industrial Park which may lead to much bigger things. It’s one of two spec buildings under construction by the Shoals Economic Development Authority. They’re […]

  • After fire, rehab almost complete on UNA’s Phi Gamma Delta house

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Eleven months ago, a fire ravaged a University of North Alabama fraternity house. The date was August 30th; that afternoon Florence fire investigators say a smoking utensil caught a couch on the back deck on fire and it spread into the Phi Gamma Delta house. A lot of time has passed since then, and a lot of work as well. Tuesday afternoon, construction workers placed one of the final pieces on top of the FIJI house. A […]

  • Security added at Florence-Lauderdale Public Library

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Public libraries are typically not somewhere you would consider a high crime area. But one Shoals library has hired off-duty officers to patrol the hallways after a couple of drug-related incidents. When you think of summertime at a public library reading events with young kids may come to mind. And that’s exactly what is going on at the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library. In fact, every day hundreds of people come here for research or just a place to […]

  • Muscle Shoals truck theft suspect needs identified

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – While many people were celebrating the Fourth of July one particular person in Muscle Shoals was up to no good. Police say this guy was hanging around at Loves Truck Stop on Highway 20. According to Muscle Shoals investigators, after he dips out of camera view he stole a truck. Authorities are looking for a red 1998 Ford F-150. It was last seen heading south on Three Mile Lane. Muscle Shoals police would also like help […]

  • Florence road rage shooting investigation continues

    FLORENCE, Ala. – WHNT News 19 is continuing to follow developments in a road rage shooting Wednesday morning in Florence. The shooting victim is a Colbert County 911 dispatcher who has been on the job for just a few months. This shooting has shaken the whole community of first responders. 911 dispatchers are the heart and soul of emergency responders. They help deal with some of the most stressful situations imaginable. So it’s especially tough when they hear something has […]

  • Cobb murder suspects make first appearance in Lauderdale County court

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Two murder suspects in Florence have made their first appearances in court. The hearings only lasted a few minutes, but enough time to advise them of their rights and assign both Hannah Burrows and Jesse Parker attorneys. Deputies separately led Parker and Burrows up to the Lauderdale County Courthouse fifth floor courtroom. Both have been back in the Shoals for just 24-hours. Investigators with Florence police arrested them Tuesday morning outside a Memphis hotel room. They waived […]

  • Florence police recover murder victim’s car

    FLORENCE, ALA. – Police say they located the victim’s missing car on July 3 with the help of Tennessee authorities. Florence Police Sergeant Greg Cobb says the vehicle was found in a Memphis parking lot by the city’s police on Tuesday, during a press conference on July 5. Florence Police held the crime scene for more than 24-hours. They combed through everything in Devan Cobb’s Four Season’s apartment looking for clues. Friday afternoon, family members grew concerned when they couldn’t […]

  • Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter set to reopen

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter will reopen their doors on Thursday after a self-imposed shutdown. They scrubbed the facilities and threw lots of items away. Even on the Fourth of July employees and volunteers are taking care of animals. It’s an around the clock effort at the shelter. In recent weeks, there’s been extra stress on everyone there due to the high number of animals. “One week we had 270, and the week after that we had 250 animals […]

  • Florence celebrating Fourth of July and Bicentennial

    FLORENCE, Ala. – They’re calling it a celebration like never before. The Florence Fourth of July celebration will not only be honoring the country but the city’s landmark birthday as well. The celebration grounds have been cut and vendors have started setting up. Wednesday’s Fourth of July celebration at McFarland Park will not look like years before. City leaders say it’s being geared towards family fun. “It’s kind of a flagship for our entire bicentennial which runs from March until […]