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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 carter.watkins@whnt.com, 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 students immersed in “Challenge Day”

    FLORENCE, Ala. – October is National Bullying Prevention Month. We hear so many cases of bullying in schools, work-places, and in life. To help students squash bullying, Florence City Schools is challenging them this week. It’s not your typical field trip; it is “Challenge Day”. An immersive, emotional experience warmed up with some games. “We like to say we create the spark for social and emotional skills and development,” explained Trish Bruno, a “Challenge Day” Facilitator. Bruno travels the country […]

  • Franklin County opens a non-typical disaster relief donation center

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. – An entire county in northwest Alabama is coming together to collect disaster relief items for the Carolina’s. But this isn’t your normal donation drive, the items being asked for will help residents for the months ahead. You can’t miss the tractor-trailer parked in front of Walmart on U.S. Highway 43 in Russellville, it is donation central. “People are thinking, ‘people are displaced and they need food, water, clothing’, and those types of things. We don’t think […]

  • Campers get “The Helen Keller Experience”

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. — Helen Keller changed the world. She spent her life tearing down barriers for those with disabilities. Right now, a camp is underway at Keller’s birthplace which is continuing her work. Two dozen children from across the southeast have gathered, and all share one thing – a disability. “Talking to other kids who have been through what I have been through, that helps me get courage. Because, that’s the main theme of this camp is to give you […]

  • Florence police need identity of residential robbery suspect

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police investigators have released surveillance footage from a residential robbery. Their hope is someone will recognize the woman caught in the act. A surveillance camera captured a woman approaching a home on Lindenburg Street in southwest Florence on the morning of September 7. When she found the carport door locked, police say she went around to the back of the house and broke a window. Investigators say the burglary turned into a robbery when the homeowner confronted the woman […]

  • Vote removes Helen Keller from social studies curriculum

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – There’s been a vote in the state of Texas to remove certain historical figures from social studies curriculum. One of the people being eliminated from required teaching is Helen Keller, “The First Lady of Courage”. There’s no one more upset about the decision than those who work to keep her legacy alive. Every year thousands of visitors cross through the wrought-iron fence and make their way up the brick pavers. Ivy Green in Tuscumbia is Helen Keller’s […]

  • Spec buildings expected to draw manufacturers to the Shoals

    ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – Economic growth is booming across north Alabama right now. Much of the growth is being fueled by the announced Mazda-Toyota plant under development. On the western front, the Shoals is putting themselves in prime position to bring growth their way. The Shoals Economic Development Authority cut the ribbon on their latest speculative building Wednesday afternoon. It was strategically built in the Rogersville Business Park on U.S. Highway 72. The newly-constructed building is a prime example of a […]

  • Lauderdale County bridge passes inspection; weight limit to be enforced

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – One of Lauderdale County’s oldest bridges got the green light to remain open after a recent inspection. There’s always a steady stream of vehicles crossing the Happy Hollow bridge on County Road 47. It’s a main artery from north-central Lauderdale County into Florence. The bridge is also 90-years old. “We’re trying to do everything we can to extend the life of this bridge; to get as much use out of it as we possibly can,” said […]

  • Shoals emergency responders ready for annual Trail of Tears ride

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — The roar will be heard from Bridgeport all the way to Waterloo as the annual Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride will traverse the valley on Saturday. Nestled on the banks of the Tennessee River, the town of Waterloo has a population of less than 200. On the third Saturday of each year, the number swells to tens of thousands. “The size crowd is a dependent piece that we really don’t know yet,” explained Lauderdale County […]

  • Muscle Shoals robbery suspect on the run

    MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – A robbery suspect remains on the run. On Wednesday morning, a man robbed a furniture store in Muscle Shoals and disappeared. Surveillance pictures from the incident have been released. Right at 11A.M. the male seen in the pictures walked into Watson’s Furniture on Wilson Dam Road and robbed them. According to investigators, the man handed a worker a threatening note demanding money or “he would shoot them.” Muscle Shoals police say the suspect never presented a […]

  • The Salvation Army of the Shoals preparing for mobilization

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Disaster relief groups are preparing for deployment to the East Coast once Hurricane Florence moves ashore. In the Shoals, The Salvation Army is on stand-by waiting for the phone call to leave. For the last several days, the supply checklists have been gone over repeatedly. The Emergency Disaster Services Canteen for The Salvation Army of the Shoals is packed and ready to go. “As soon as we get the phone call we roll out of the parking […]

  • Shoals firefighters accepting donations for hurricane relief

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – Even before Hurricane Florence makes landfall relief efforts are underway. Volunteer fire departments are partnering in the Shoals to accept donations to send to the east coast. “People tend to help us when we need help in this area with the tornadoes and whatever other emergency happens,” stated Nitrate City Fire Chief Kelly Aday. “I think this is just a way we can return the favor.” Chief Aday is working with the Lexington Fire Department to […]

  • UNA alumnus remembered in 9/11 memorial ceremony

    FLORENCE, Ala. — A day of remembrance; reverence for those who died in the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. Cadets with The University of North Alabama ROTC program held a 9/11 memorial service Tuesday morning to honor an alumnus killed in the Pentagon attack. Cadets saluted a wreath placed on the Memorial Amphitheater honoring Major Dwayne Williams, as his wife looked on in the crowd. “At that time, it didn’t even dawn on me outside of the […]