Patrick Ward


I started writing my column weekly for the Norwich Evening News in January 2022, having previously been an occasional opinion writer across Archant’s daily titles.

My main role with the company is print journalist, which involves checking pages before going to press. Writing these columns gives me the opportunity to produce something myself, often inspired by the great work of our journalists – along with whatever national news has been biting at me that week. I have a background in international crisis and conflict journalism, mostly reporting on marginalised communities. Coming to work for the local and regional press was quite a change, and one of the nicest things about it is a sense of community. In my columns, I try to bring local issues into a national or international context. We are all connected these days in more ways than we sometimes realise, and we really aren’t so different, no matter what part of the planet we live on. I try to do that in an accessible way and, sometimes successfully, to use humour as a means to that end. But I also have opinions – a useful characteristic for an opinion writer – and try to make evidence-based arguments in my writing. I like nothing better than to see people disagree with me on the letters pages or by email (apart from perhaps people telling me they agree with me, of course). Standing with those who face discrimination and oppression is also a guiding principle in my writing. To do that, I will often try to break down barriers thrown up between people, which can lead to fear, mistrust or even hatred. But for me, the target is rarely the people who hold such views – it’s the people with power and influence propagating them. After all, I would love more than anything to change people’s minds – not back them into a corner. And there’s nothing better than the feeling I get when someone tells me that I made them think about something in a different way or gratitude from a reader for raising a topic that affects them personally. That has been especially true on issues affecting transgender rights, sexism and refugees. While my columns are often reprinted in the Eastern Daily Press, East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, I do enjoy the luxury of writing exclusively for print. It makes me feel like part of a club – loyal newspaper buyers who see my words in the context of a sharply-designed page courtesy of our sharply-designed design team. You might come for the knockabout side column on Big Brother or how I’ve been putting off clearing out the shed but stay on to read about how PFI is still costing our local hospital millions or the pitfalls of the government’s levelling up agenda. That’s the beauty of print journalism – and long may it continue!