The media is an influential vehicle used to investigate and highlight newsworthy facts, and journalists are in a unique position to directly affect the opinions and views of the masses. As the 86th Annual Tap Day on the University of Missouri campus has recently passed ”“ seventeen journalism students joined the ranks of various secret societies. One question to ask is how does membership to a secret society affect the impartiality of those who go on to join the ranks of mass media?
A great deal of the mysteriousness and curiosity of secret societies not only rests on the rituals and ceremonies that outsiders are not aware of, but also, of the perceived influence and power such members have both within their society and once they start to make a name for themselves in the ‘real’ world. So, it’s safe to say that having journalists with a hidden agenda, who provide preferential coverage, or look the other way when a fellow member does something unsavory in the news is a bit disturbing. How many times do you think this has happened before?
During the 86th annual Tap Day on the University of Missouri campus, seventeen Missouri School of Journalism students were tapped into five secret honorary societies ”“ the LSV Society, Mortar Board, Mystical Seven, Omicron Delta Kappa, and QEBH, which is the oldest recognized secret honor society at the University. Founded in 1897, the QEBH secret society now receives inductees studying strategic communication and magazine journalism.
When choosing new members of the societies, the ‘tapped’ rated highly in academic performance, extracurricular activities, scholarship, leadership and service. The identities of new members were kept a secret until the ceremony held on April 19.
The LSV Society dates back to 1908, and was formed by a group of women who makes it a point to recognize the most outstanding upper-class students. They tapped two students, including one who is studying radio-television journalism. The Mortar Board stresses lifelong contributions to the global community, and provides opportunities for members to develop their leadership skills. Five inductees were tapped ”“ those studying print and digital, magazine journalism, as well as strategic communication.
The Mystical Seven honors seven men and women a year, and is the second oldest recognized secret honorary society at the University ”“ dating back to 1907. A student studying strategic communication was tapped this time around. Seven students were tapped to join Omicron Delta Kappa ”“ a prestigious national leadership society that rewards those who uphold a high standard of achievement in collegiate activities.
Secret Societies at University of Missouri
The University of Missouri has a long history of secret societies on their campus. In 1895, the Alpha Theta Chapter of the Theta Nu Epsilon sophomore society was founded with the help of Luther DeFoe, who also served as a mentor to the founding members of the QEBH senior men’s society founded in 1898.
Next, the Mystical Seven was established in 1907 ”“ becoming the second most well-known of all the societies about campus. These first organizations opened the doors for the creation of other secret societies, such as Society of the Hidden Eye for junior/senior men and LSV for senior women.
As secret societies started to become more popular, fraternities started to increase intra-societies across the campus with an objective for being social and creating mischief. They were dubbed the ‘Greek Underworld’ and included the likes of groups called the Seven Equals.