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Media Microscope Results: Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald

The Corn Nation community provided their thoughts about Dirk Chatelain, columnist for the Omaha World-Herald. Here are the highlights.

The people of Corn Nation spoke and we listened! Here's what they had to say about the Omaha World-Herald's Dirk Chatelain.

Thumbs Up:

  • Storytelling - see comments below.
  • Football Program Expectations - some were fans of Dirk being candid about the faults in the football program and appreciated he wasn't "constantly making excuses for the coach" during Bo Pelini's tenure at Nebraska.
  • Potential - due to his talents as a writer, some of you felt that if he corrected some of his faults he had the ability to write for major sports publications.

Best Comments:

@feitcanwrite (email submission) -

Arguably the best writer in the state - sports or otherwise. Those who automatically reject anything with his byline are truly missing out. His longform pieces are always worth the time. Willing to do deep research to back up his theories.

As a native son and alum, he probably cares too much about the program. When he writes something that gets the message boards into a lather, it almost always comes from a place of defending the program's high standards (and preventing gravitation towards mediocrity), instead of him having a vendetta against a player or coach. Also, doesn't seem to reject or shy away from his reputation as a "hater".

And for those who hate him, I'll toss out this prediction: Dirk will be the guy who succeeds Shatel as the OWH's primary sports columnist.

Husker Mike -

Chatelain is an award winning feature writer
He's simply a great story teller. He knows how to talk to people and pull out a very interesting story. If he wanted to, he could get a job today at Sports Illustrated or ESPN to write stories. He's really really good at that.

Dead Read -

He writes beautifully. It is as if I know the man based on his columns.

Anonymous Emailer -

Dirk pushed the envelope about as much as anyone could get away with under the previous regime and for Pelini fans. That made him the bad guy. To some, he still is for that reason alone. He stands behind his opinions and backs them up unlike several other local columnists and beat writers.

Is Chatelain infallible? No, but I can say that I always look forward to what he puts out there whether I agree with it or not. He's not the big meanie some want him to be. He's just honest and honesty can be very scary.

Rovin' Robin -

I thought his article on small town Nebraska football was really well done. I don't care for most of his opinions or what I consider his high horse attitude, but it seemed that he took the time to truly research the subject matter & wrote a very coherent article while leaving his personal opinions on the sidelines.

thehobodownthestreet -

Fifteen years from now I think there are only two paths for Dirk. Either he is revered as one of the greatest writers and voices in sports on a national level, like the way we think of Bob Ryan. Or, we turn on ESPN 2 and is, "Today on First Take we discuss if LeBron James Jr. relationship with North West is hampering his dunking abilities. And should a genetically altered horse be allowed to play in the NFL, and finally briefs, boxers or go commando, what option should Rory McIlroy go with to break out of his funk. And here to discuss those topics and more, Stephen A Smith, Skip Bayless' animatronic corpse and Dirk Chatelain."

Thumbs Down:

  • The Troll Game Is Strong With This One - a common theme in the comments was that Dirk's entire motivation is to rile up the fan base and to garner page views.
  • The Pelini Agenda - most of you felt he had a not-so-hidden agenda against former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini.
  • Did I Mention You Thought He Was A Troll? - see comments below.

Best Comments:

alacy52 -

Biggest troll in Nebraska media.
Someone needs to tell Dirk he's not at the DN anymore.

Husker Mike -

..But then he dips into analyzing games or (even worse) pretending to be Nate Silver and crunch stats... and, well, he's still telling stories. Except these stories have no basis in reality. Nebraska needs to concentrate on the 500 mile radius in recruiting? Never mentions that Nebraska is in the bottom 25% of prospects in a 500 mile radius.

Or that a Creighton vs. Wichita State regular season basketball game was more important than an NCAA tournament game that featured two NBA lottery picks (#2 draft pick Michael Beasley vs. #3 draft pick O.J. Mayo).

One of my favorites was last year, when Dirk claimed that Jim Delaney wasn't holding any press conferences in Nebraska, just ONE WEEK after Delaney, well, met with the press in Omaha. Dirk couldn't have been bothered to attend, though several of his fellow World-Herald reporters were there. So were Jon and I.

Those are just a few examples. I stopped reading his stuff online, and try to avoid reading it in the paper. It was even more eye-opening when I saw Sam McKewon essentially admitted that he didn't read Chatelain's work either.

Doc1028 -

I've read Dirk since his college days. Then, as stated by Husker Mike, he was able to tell a good story and was an informative read (well, you know, for a college paper). But it seems that after a few years in the "business" some of the items he puts out seem to have a different tone to it. Perhaps not fully into the "page clicks=$$" realm, but it does tend to lean that way at times.

Dead Read -

I feel that he infuses more venom than necessary in his critiques of college players. He is more interested in being compelling than in being right.

nateforchiefs -

Dirk doesn't seem to realize he isn't supposed to be the main focus of his articles
He's constantly trying to prove how smart he is and how he's always right, and I dont think I've ever seen anyone quote or references themselves so often to prove it either. He was incredibly vindictive with Pelini and led the charge to get him fired, that's not longer reporting the news but trying to make it.

crowe1856 -

I intentionally avoid his articles so as to not give him page views
It's not that I always disagree with him, but he just rubs me the wrong way- like Palin, or Kanye, or a petulant child- where my hope is that if I ignore them, they'll just go away.

Chatelain scored an average of 2.7 in the ratings poll (396 votes), which means the community thinks his work is below average. To no one's surprise, this edition of the Media Microscope garnered the most comments and votes in the series' short history.

Thanks for all your feedback and hopefully we receive even more comments to discuss in future editions of the Media Microscope. Who would you like to see reviewed next?

Previous Media Microscope Results:

Brandon Vogel of Hail Varsity (3.8)

Jon Johnston of Corn Nation (3.7)

Mike Welch of 93.7 The Ticket (3.9)