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
  • Colbert County neighborhood grows frustrated with parked trains

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – People in one neighborhood are fed up. They’re tired of being blocked by trains which may sit at an intersection for hours. There are dangers which they say accompany this issue. Several times a day, trains travel between the Shoals and Memphis along U.S. Highway 72 in Colbert County. But for the last four years, people who live in Pride Landing have been getting trapped. “I feel like they have turned a deaf ear on the […]

  • Police look to identify thief who preyed on hospital visitors

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Police are searching for the identity of a person who took advantage of someone in a hospital waiting room. Her crime was caught on surveillance cameras. According to Florence police, the woman pictured trolled North Alabama Medical Center looking for a victim. Detectives say in mid-June, she walked from waiting room to waiting room asking for change for a $100 bill. The crime happened when a gentleman helped her out; the currency turned out to be counterfeit. […]

  • Industrial manufacturing is thriving in northwest Alabama

    FLORENCE, Ala. – Communities across north Alabama and southern Tennessee are waiting to see what spin-off manufacturers come from the Mazda-Toyota project. While their fingers are crossed, economic development leaders in the Shoals are continuing to lure in more jobs and industry to the area. Inside a vacant T-shirt mill from the early 1990s, huge ideas are coming to life in Florence. What might look like just another electric motor, is what developers say represents a breakthrough in technology. “It’s […]

  • Tuscumbia flooding issues resolved after decades of trouble

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Drivers, city leadership, and school administrators in Tuscumbia are celebrating after Wednesday morning’s heavy rain. For decades, all three have dealt with flooding along a major roadway. Six weeks ago, excavators began digging behind Howard Chappell Stadium’s visitor section. To date, they have dug out a 10-foot deep area which can hold 1.5-million gallons of water. Workers recently connected Cave Street drainage pipes to the new Tuscumbia retention pond. “Normally here in Tuscumbia, we get a rain […]

  • Tuscumbia projects bring dangers to work crews

    TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – Work has started on a project which will see miles of roadway repaved in the city of Tuscumbia. But, the improvements don’t come without danger to crews. It’s hot – dirty work. Road crews in Tuscumbia start before the sun comes up, and try to finish before the blistering afternoon heat. Two major repaving projects are underway in the city. “It’s going to take a little bit of time; it’s not an overnight process,” explained Lt. Mike […]

  • Shoals Area Crime Stoppers unveils a new crime fighting tool

    FLORENCE, Ala. – The Shoals Area Crime Stoppers program would not be possible without support from the community. In an attempt to make contact with tipsters quicker and easier, a new crime-fighting tool is being introduced. There’s now an app for the Shoals Area Crime Stoppers tip line. Introduced this week, it’s as simple as taking your smartphone and downloading it. In the Apple App Store or Google Play – search for “P3 Tips”. Once you download and install the […]

  • Plans announced for new attraction at Joe Wheeler State Park

    ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – A major project started this week at the Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville. For most visitors to the park, they likely won’t know it’s there until it’s done. Over the last year, Joe Wheeler State Park has seen some major improvements. The lodge, day use area, golf course and marina have all been upgraded. “I think it shows a recommitment to our parks and it shows that people that work here are so dedicated and really […]

  • Colbert County Animal Shelter strapped for cash and running low on food

    COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – An animal shelter in northwest Alabama says they are out of money. The Colbert County Animal Shelter is in desperate need of the public’s help as issues are mounting for the community service. By Wednesday morning, word of the Colbert County Animal Shelter’s needs was circulating. Bag after bag of dog and cat food were showing up. At the close of business on Tuesday, they were down to just four days of food. “It’s not their […]

  • Forensic tests reveal more about Franklin County skull, but still no ID

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. – Authorities said Tuesday they are still trying to identify a skull found in Franklin County last month. Sheriff Shannon Oliver held a briefing Tuesday morning to release what forensics recently found. Sheriff Oliver said the skull found June 10 by hikers appears to be a male between the ages of 18 and 49. It was found in a flood zone area across the water from Horseshoe Bend Campground. “That water comes from a long stretch away, […]

  • Sheffield smoking ban halts cigar bar progress, city denies fault

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. — The Sheffield city council says an insurance claim by a business owner shouldn’t be settled or approved. It’s a claim brought by Joseph Mitchum who says he’s out tens of thousands of dollars because of the city’s smoking ban. In a four to two vote Monday night, council members sent the message they are not responsible for the loss. Through his attorney, Mitchum claims council members assured him the cigar bar he planned to open would go […]

  • New Details: Authorities capture wanted man with “meth-fueled attack squirrel”

    LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – WHNT News 19 is gathering new details on the capture of a Limestone County man accused of possessing a “meth-fueled attack squirrel.” Just before 8 p.m. Thursday night, Mickey Paulk was taken in custody in Lauderdale County. Paulk’s run from justice came to an abrupt end at a dead-end barricade along Highway 72. Law enforcement across north Alabama and southern Tennessee have been searching for Paulk for more than a week. The search turned into national […]

  • Sheffield theft investigation continues after burned remains are found

    SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Police are investigating the case of a stolen truck taken this past weekend. Although the truck has been sort of recovered in an adjoining county, they still need to know who did it. Sunday morning, just after 2, surveillance cameras at a Muscle Shoals convenience store captured a stolen truck driving by. According to Sheffield police, the truck was taken from a York Terrace home just a few minutes earlier. Detectives say the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado was […]

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