THE Argus celebrates its 140th anniversary next month.

I’m sure every editor in its long history has felt the same weight of responsibility on their shoulders as I do to continue its good name and reputation as the place to go for trusted news.

And trust is the key word here. More than ever our journalistic principles are key to the newspaper and website that we provide.

Social media and the internet in general is awash with rumour and gossip. Just as there was before, there is information in the community passed on to us that we need to process and check.

With coronavirus, or to give it its new scientific name Covid-19, our journalistic principles are as important as ever.

And this is where The Argus team is crucial. As stated already this week, as we were told of GP surgeries closing and people from those surgeries and in schools self isolating, we were not always given the confirmation we would expect from the authorities. There were times they would not confirm reasons for a GP being deep-cleaned, for example.

In these cases we present the information to our readers as we have it, clearly stating whether it has been confirmed, or not, by the authorities.

As for the schools, we have had parents on the phone in tears asking whether they should send their children in. They did not have enough detail to make an informed decision.

People want as much information as possible so our team has been out on the streets and on the phones getting hold of it. Our live blog has provided up-to-the-minute information on closures and people self isolating. We have passed on all the health guidelines when available too.

So it was very disappointing to hear Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas criticising “one of the local papers as being pretty sensationalist”.

Then in the same breath she said people need to be able to get “timely, accurate information all in one place”. But that is exactly what The Argus newspaper has done in the past week, with the live blog being even more timely, pulling in any information from different sources including the city council and Public Health England as well as what people are seeing and experiencing in the community.

We simply cannot rely on the authorities to provide that information and balance. There are countries where the state provides the news and I’m afraid they are, on the whole, undemocratic ones. To have a news service provided by the state falls short on its most major point, and that is the fact it will not hold the authorities to account and provide a voice for the most important people in the situation: you, our readers.