“Hold the flashlight.”

I can’t tell you how many times I (happily) heard that from my dad when I was a kid.

Yes, I was that youngster following my father around in whatever work he tackled around the house and yard: changing the oil in the car, puttering around in the garage, fixing something on the lawn mower or inspecting a duct, for example, under the house. I was his “helper.”

I probably got in the way lots of times, but I tried not to, and he never mentioned it if I was an obstacle. He had me hold the flashlight

to illuminate what he was doing so he could see well and complete whatever task was at hand.

I actually worked hard (mentally) at doing a good job holding the flashlight. I tried to find just the right angle — often trying multiple spots from which to shine the beam — so that he could do what he needed to do.

I’m still holding the flashlight.

As a journalist, I’m not supposed to tell you what to think about the news — unless I write a column, which is a separate issue. When I write news stories, I report the news. Period.

I go to school board meetings and record what is said and voted upon, and I write a news story reporting that. I attend village board of trustee sessions and boil down the most important topics to get them in the paper and online for folks to read.

Now I’m holding the flashlight in Mahomet.

I’m not casting a hot spotlight, per se, trying to make folks sweat. I’m just trying to shed light on what’s going on.

Good journalists report stories and don’t insert opinion into the news pages. It’s a lot like holding a flashlight — I can’t say what you might find there, but I’ll illuminate what is under the hood of the village or school board or other entity and let you see for yourselves.

I’ve had lots of training and experience in this, and I’ve learned a lot. I’m still learning.

I earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism, with a minor in creative writing, from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. I’ve been writing for newspapers since high school, although my first real news writing began in college.

For nearly three decades — my, how time flies! — I’ve honed my journalistic skills in reporting, editing, photography and research to simply ... well, hold the flashlight.

I’m having the best time ever getting to know Mahomet. Folks here are welcoming and kind, friendly and quite proud of this community — as they should be. I grew up in a small town, too, and I love small-town community journalism.

At the Mahomet Citizen, we’ll never be too busy to report the Students of the Month, or attend band concerts, or give previews of the high school play, or spend time at the latest ballgame. Those small things aren’t really little at all; they’re big moments in people’s lives that we want to record.

And we’ll keep reporting on “hot topics,” too, like subdivisions being annexed, school board seats being contested and road closures that are necessary but bring inconveniences.

We’ve got decades of good journalism behind us so that you can have confidence that we know what we’re doing.

As your local community newspaper, we support Mahomet and we appreciate the support of the village’s champions — that would be each of you. After all, we all are champions for our town.

Now, I’ll get out one of my many flashlights and keep shining it here, there and everywhere. Maybe I should have bought stock in Energizer years ago.

Not to be negative, but I just always thought that bunny was a little too big for his britches. In fact, I’m positive he is.

Never mind. I’ll stick to journalism and let

the comedians tell the jokes.

“Hold the flashlight.”

Will do, Dad. Will do.

Penny Weaver is the editor of The Mahomet Citizen. Follow her on Twitter @PennyWeaver, and follow The Mahomet Citizen online at mcitizen.com, on Twitter @Mahomet_Citizen, or on Facebook @MahometCitizen. Subscribe to the newspaper today by calling 217-351-5252.