I’m a 49ers fan. Yes, still willing to admit that publicly.
So I’ll read the 49ers coverage in the larger northern California papers on a regular basis. I’ve always thought, hands-down, the best 49ers beat writer is Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. He was regularly on top of things and was just a better writer than his counterpart beat writers in the Bay Area.
Well, this past week, an opening came up writing about the 49ers for the San Francisco Chronicle, as beat writer David White left the paper to become a full-time minister in Porterville.
Presuming the Chronicle will continue to have two 49ers writers and not have Kevin Lynch do it all on his own, I would think that Barrows jumping from the Bee to the Chronicle would be a fantastic career move for him right now.
My reasoning behind it comes down to two main reasons – exposure and finances.
Exposure: The Bee and Chronicle aren’t necessarily worlds apart circulation-wise anymore. But the Chronicle is still a much more widely-regarded paper than the Bee, and working there would raise Barrows’ profile to the more casual sports reader as an NFL authority. And why shouldn’t the San Francisco newspaper want the best writer about the San Francisco 49ers working for them?
Finances: More in regard to the papers than himself, personally. Yeah, the Chronicle is still leaking red ink like a Martian octopus. But McClatchy isn’t doing too hot these days either and the Bee has, as I’ve said before, absolutely obliterated its sports staff. While Barrows still covers the 49ers full-time for the Bee, Raiders duty has fallen to Jason Jones after Paul Gutierrez left to go to Comcast, but Jones is also a Kings writer, so it’s hard to see him being able to swing both realistically. I can’t honestly see the Bee still keeping Barrows around covering the 49ers full-time when they’re devoting fewer writers to preps coverage than my paper one-tenth the size does.
Honestly, if Barrows isn’t looking to jump to the Chronicle, he should just be looking to jump, period, before the suits in Sacramento push him out.