Columnist: Bob Ashley

Jul. 05, 2014 @ 09:28 AM

Patriotism scarce? No, it abounds in many forms

As the Fourth of July, that most patriotic of American holidays, approached last week, Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer on Fox News ginned up the specter of a patriotism crisis in the country.


Jun. 26, 2014 @ 07:09 PM

Durham’s robust economy promises to continue

If you have, as I do, a sense that Durham’s economic buoyancy over the past several years is about to kick into an even higher gear, a study released last week provided a significant confirmation.


Jun. 14, 2014 @ 01:59 PM

Industry realizing valuable news merits a price tag

A couple decades ago, I was in a crowded, stuffy hotel room at a group editors’ meeting, looking over the shoulder of an editor from the San Jose Mercury News. He was demonstrating the paper’s new on-line news operation.


Nov. 22, 2014 @ 12:25 PM

A valued colleague takes on new opportunities

Alert readers will notice a familiar name missing from our masthead – that of Nancy Wykle.

Let me assure you it reflects great news. Nancy, a valued colleague for the past decade, has been promoted to editor and publisher of the Daily Dispatch in Henderson, owned, as is The Herald-Sun, by the Paxton Media Group.


Nov. 15, 2014 @ 09:55 AM

Should we question the model of student (briefly) athletes?

The national debate over big-time college athletics, given greater impetus in the past couple of decades as television and marketing revenue has fueled soaring expenditures, has in the past year or so deepened further.


Nov. 01, 2014 @ 11:41 PM

Wise words on college athletics from a former colleague

A couple weeks ago, I finally finished after many fits and starts a wonderful book by my old friend and former colleague Ed Williams.

Williams, now retired, was for many years editor of the editorial pages at The Charlotte Observer, and for several of those years I was a mid-level editor on the news side of the paper. His book, “Liberating Dixie,” is a collection of columns and editorials he crafted with characteristic grace, wisdom and incisiveness over the years. Reading it was in some ways discouraging, since I was reminded on page after page how I could never measure up to the caliber of Williams’ work.


Oct. 25, 2014 @ 11:52 PM

A short decade later, what a change for downtown

When Argos Therapeutics president and CEO Jeff Abbey talked about his company’s decision to come to Durham last week, he offered this anecdote:

““(We knew) we made the right decision when we got the whole company together and told them we would be in Durham … and this cheer went up from all 90 people.”


Oct. 18, 2014 @ 10:56 AM

What if court rulings’ critics invoked “Sharia law….”

I’ve met Michael Burbidge, the bishop of the Catholic diocese of Raleigh – which encompasses Durham – a couple of times.  He regularly reaches out to media in his diocese. He’s personable, measured, eager to listen and clearly a caring individual.


Oct. 11, 2014 @ 06:09 PM

Bring on the millennials, ‘welcome and accepting’

Monday, National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” aired a five-minute segment titled “Why You Should Start Taking Millennials Seriously.”

The next day, the U. S. Supreme Court vaulted same-sex marriage to the cusp of legality from coast to coast when it declined to review five appellate court rulings that bans on those marriages are unconstitutional.


Oct. 04, 2014 @ 01:25 PM

Thoughts on conservation, traffic, sense of place

I suspect no one wants to know what I did on vacation, but indulge me a few precautionary, perhaps even pessimistic, thoughts.


Sep. 27, 2014 @ 01:11 PM

Ashley: Vacation reflections on bunkered air travel

I fly a lot less these days than I have, and for that I am mostly grateful.


Sep. 13, 2014 @ 10:30 AM

Tackling the troubled future of our beloved football

More than a half-century ago, in 1953, when I was in kindergarten in far-away New York, a young aspiring comic and actor from what would later become the hometown of my youth and adolescence recorded his breakthrough record for Orville Campbell’s Colonial Records in Chapel Hill.


Sep. 06, 2014 @ 11:43 PM

Durham embodies shifting economic strength in U.S.

One day last week, headed to lunch at one of the new restaurants lining Blackwell Street across from American Tobacco, I parked in the deck next to the Durham Performing Arts Center. Stepping out onto the brick plaza between it and Diamond View II, Durham’s increasingly urban feel was evident.


Aug. 30, 2014 @ 05:48 PM

What was new to us is old-hat to college freshmen

For carolers, Christmas may be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but for those of us intrigued by the changing nature of cultural touchstones, August may well be that.


Aug. 23, 2014 @ 03:18 PM

Despite some bumps, good progress with our new press

In November 1942, after British forces had won a decisive victory – their first of the war – against German forces in North Africa, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in one of his more famous lines, told the House of Commons:

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”