Greg Lindsay of mediabistro has written An open letter to journalism grads that, as a college instructor, I really should try and hide. Instead, I think I may nail it to an office wall somewhere and make sure all my students get a copy.

He begins…

You thought you were buying a set of skills, credentials, and quality time with the placement office. And you did. But your professors also sold you a mindset, a worldview, an ideology–one in which newspapers are God’s work, bloggers are pagans, and your career trajectory is a long, steep, but ultimately meritocratic climb to a heavenly desk at The New York Times or 60 Minutes. Accepting any of this as gospel truth will almost certainly cause permanent damage to your budding careers.

…and from there presents a picture of the world where networking matters as much as credential and where the fun jobs in journalism aren’t wrapped up in newsroom politics.

But back to the original question: Is there a way to fix this? Maybe, if your professors are willing to admit that they’re evangelizing as well as teaching, and that where they see a decline and fall going on in the media landscape, you might just find opportunities helping tear it down. But who wants to say that?

Whether you’re a journalism student or not, this is a piece worth reading and sharing. There’s some hyperbole in Lindsay’s piece (intentional or unintentional) but there’s a lot of reality in there, too. As an instructor in an applied program, it’s my job to prep students to walk out the door and into a newsroom. But to ignore the realities contained in that last quote would be to do a major disservice to all those young minds.

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