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
  • Florence, Huntsville hosts ‘My Body, My Choice’ rallies

    TENNESSEE VALLEY – Hundreds of people attended the “My Body, My Choice” rally at Butler Park in Huntsville Sunday afternoon, and many speakers shared their stories and opinions during the rally, but the main talking point of the rally was that everyone can make a difference. Lisa Handback, a speaker at the rally, says she hopes everyone left feeling empowered. “There’s a lot of feelings here today and putting those into action in a political sense because we know especially […]

  • Resort development continues to push forward in Sheffield

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – In 2015, plans were announced for a resort type development overlooking the Tennessee River. As each day passes, the dreams of developers and local leaders are getting closer to reality for Sheffield and Inspiration Landing. Earlier this year a sign suddenly appeared on West 20th Avenue in Sheffield. Once part of the city’s landfill, the property is poised to become quite the development. When approached four years ago and told about the plans, Mayor Ian Sanford never […]

  • Florence PD looks to figure out who theft suspect is

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Detectives are needing help identifying a possible theft suspect. The surveillance pictures you see show the man facing several criminal charges.The photos have been released by the Florence Police Department. They are from two locations, a Walmart and a Burger King. Detectives say the man they are focusing on used a stolen credit card at several businesses. Over a two-day span, police say the card racked up a couple of hundred dollars in fraudulent charges. According to […]

  • Boaters should prep before hitting the water

    FLORENCE, Ala. – With summer quickly approaching, water safety should take high priority, especially on the Tennessee River. There are many things to think about in addition to the life vests and fire extinguishers on a boat. With one water rescue already under their belt on Thursday, the Florence Fire and Rescue boat started patrols. Distress calls have already started for the summer boating season. “The thing about boating safety, we need to start that before we actually leave home,” […]

  • Road project garners frustration among Lauderdale County businesses

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Business owners are fed up. In northern Lauderdale county, a road widening project is closing in on three years. Barrels and barriers line U.S. 43 north through Green Hill. They’ve been here since ground was broken in August of 2016. The state is widening 5-miles of two-lane highway into four. At the time, Governor Robert Bentley said the project would only take 18-months. “It’s been going on for over two years,” said Melinda May, manager of […]

  • Colbert County project to ensure reliable power service

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Major infrastructure investment is silently taking place in northwest Alabama. This particular project will likely affect most everyone reading this right now.From Sky19 it may look like the world’s largest jungle gym, but if we take a closer look it is the beginning of a $50-million upgrade by TVA. “That reliable power that they (consumers) are used to when they flip the switch and the light comes on, what that means is that reliability will continue […]

  • New animal services facility opens in Lauderdale County

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – After six years of talking about it, a new animal services facility opened Monday in Lauderdale County. It replaces an outdated and cramped shelter built more than 30 years ago. The relief could be seen on many faces during the ribbon cutting Monday morning. Two years after purchasing this plot of land on Roberson Road, the Florence-Lauderdale Animal Services building is open for business.“Everything in it is much needed and a fresh start,” stated Florence Mayor […]

  • Florence scores big with major high school tournament

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The city of Florence has entered the softball game for the first time. Hundreds of players are in Florence vying for their chance to go to the state high school championship. The north Alabama regional tournament is in full swing at the Florence Sports Complex. “I think it just shows how the city has improved over the years, and we are ready for stuff like this. Hopefully, the tourists that come in they will see what Florence […]

  • Florence shoplifting trio caught in the act

    FLORENCE, Ala. – A trio of women is accused of stealing hundreds of dollars in goods from a Florence store. So far, two of the suspects have been identified and police need help with the third. Just judging from their faces one might think these women hit the lottery. With smiles from ear to ear, Florence police say they were leaving Walmart on Cloverdale Road with hundreds of dollars in unpaid items. Detectives say their shopping list included bed sheets, […]

  • Tuscumbia to request help in solving flood problems

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Thursday’s torrential rains showed exactly why Tuscumbia is in need of help. Drive down Cave Street in Tuscumbia during a downpour and you might just get a surprise. Water pools on the road rather quickly, because drains can’t gather it as fast as they need to. City leaders are looking for solutions. “Ways that we can divert water in different places; fix water so more of it can go under a certain culvert as opposed to overflowing […]

  • Tourism arms first responders in Lauderdale County

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – A program to activate first responders kicked off Wednesday morning in Lauderdale County. The campaign is designed to utilize the knowledge of law enforcement and firefighters in a way you might not think about. On a typical day, the Florence-Lauderdale Visitors Center is chock-full of tourists. Wednesday morning things were a little different; the visitors were wearing guns and badges. “We need to be an ambassador for this community, and help encourage people to come visit […]

  • Driver in wreck that killed 3 Lauderdale County teens will be tried as a juvenile

    FLORENCE, Ala. – It has been one year since a tragic accident claimed the lives of three Wilson High School students. With emotions still raw, the driver of the car that night who faces manslaughter charges, was in court Tuesday morning applying for youthful offender status. Just hours after an emotionally charged morning in his courtroom, Judge Gil Self made the decision that Kate Boggus will be tried on her manslaughter and assault charges as a juvenile. Indicted in January […]

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