Charles Neal Ascherson is a Scottish
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...
BackgroundHe was born in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...
and educated at Eton
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....
and King's College, Cambridge
King's College, Cambridge
King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college's full name is "The King's College of our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge", but it is usually referred to simply as "King's" within the University....
, where he read history
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...
. He was described by the historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...
Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm , CH, FBA, is a British Marxist historian, public intellectual, and author...
as "perhaps the most brilliant student I ever had. I didn't really teach him much, I just let him get on with it."
Neal Ascherson is married to fellow journalist Isabel Hilton
Isabel Nancy Hilton OBE is a Scottish journalist and broadcaster based in London.-Biography:She was educated at Edinburgh University where she studied Chinese to post-graduate level...
. They currently live in London with their two children, Iona and Alexander.
CareerAfter graduating with a starred First
British undergraduate degree classification
The British undergraduate degree classification system is a grading scheme for undergraduate degrees in the United Kingdom...
, he declined offers to pursue an academic
Academia is the community of students and scholars engaged in higher education and research.-Etymology:The word comes from the akademeia in ancient Greece. Outside the city walls of Athens, the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning...
career. Instead, he chose a career in journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...
, first at the Manchester Guardian and then at The Scotsman
The Scotsman is a British newspaper, published in Edinburgh.As of August 2011 it had an audited circulation of 38,423, down from about 100,000 in the 1980s....
(1959–1960), The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...
(1960–1990) and the Independent on Sunday (1990–1998). He contributed scripts for the 1974 documentary series World at War
The World at War (TV series)
The World at War is a 26-episode British television documentary series chronicling the events of World War II. It was produced by Jeremy Isaacs, narrated by Laurence Olivier and has a score composed by Carl Davis...
and the 1998 series The Cold War
Cold War (TV series)
Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War that aired in 1998. It features interviews and footage of the events that shaped the tense relationships between the Soviet Union and the United States....
. In recent years, he has also been a regular contributor to the London Review of Books
London Review of Books
The London Review of Books is a fortnightly British magazine of literary and intellectual essays.-History:The LRB was founded in 1979, during the year-long lock-out at The Times, by publisher A...
He has lectured and written extensively about Polish
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...
and Eastern Europe
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...
Ascherson is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Archaeology
Institute of Archaeology
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is an academic department of the Social & Historical Sciences Faculty of University College London , England. It is one of the largest departments of archaeology in the world, with over 80 members of academic staff and 500 students...
, University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...
. He has been editor of Public Archaeology
Public Archaeology (journal)
Public Archaeology is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal established in 2000 and published by Maney Publishing. It covers the relationships between practical archaeology, archaeological theory and cultural heritage management models, and the involvement of wider civic, governmental, and...
, an academic journal associated with UCL devoted to CRM and public archaeology issues and developments, since its inception in 1999.
In 1991 Ascherson was awarded an honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...
from the Open University
The Open University is a distance learning and research university founded by Royal Charter in the United Kingdom...
as Doctor of the University.