Theta Archives

The Kite: Our First “Daily” News Source

These days when Thetas go to Grand Convention, we communicate via email and social media. For 2016, we will be using Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Periscope (and the hashtag #Theta16). There’s even a Convention app for attendees to use! However, The Kite was our earliest “immediate” communication method.

The Kite first appeared at the 1911 Grand Convention in Pasadena, Calif. Its introductory editorial stated its purpose: “This little paper makes a modest entrance into newspaperdom, where at best it can hope to have but a short life. It dares to boast of being the first Convention daily of any women’s fraternity, and to be worthy of that honor, it will strive first to reflect the enthusiasm and fellowship of this Theta gathering in Pasadena; second, to report faithfully the business of the Convention sessions; third, to make a prominent feature of the society page; and fourth, to print late in the week a complete list of those in attendance.” I do not know for sure if it was the first Convention daily of any women’s fraternity, but for those of us looking back at Theta’s history, it does seem to capture “the enthusiasm and fellowship” that happens at all Theta Conventions.

Put out by both alumnae and collegian volunteers, it used several names (Theta Daily, Theta Daily Kite, The Kite Tail, and The Theta Kite) before settling on The Kite. In most instances, it was published on-site and distributed daily to Convention attendees. Those not attending the Convention were encouraged to subscribe at a very low rate to receive their own copy.

For many years, four issues would be published as a tabloid-type size newspaper, each with four pages. Stories ranged from official Convention business to lighter fare of news of chapters and individuals attending Convention. “Ads” would run to advertise upcoming activities. Quotes from national officers, alumnae, and collegians offered glimpses into the attendee experience at Convention. Thetas contributed poetry, and the editors published photographs of local sites and of Convention attendees.

When reading these issues, one gets beyond the official reports and proceedings of Conventions and gets a glimpse of how much Thetas enjoy getting together. While we may use different ways to communicate the business of Convention and the connections formed between our fellow sisters, the same thread runs through these old newspapers and today’s social media posts. I can’t wait to read and see what happens at Convention this week!