Beginning in 1894 with the first volume of the Cactus, and followed shortly thereafter in 1900 with the first issue of The Texan, the University of Texas at Austin established two of its earliest student publications. In 1902, the Students' Association was formed to, among other things, "control the publications" of the university. Two years later, in 1904, the Students' Association acquired the Cactus and Texan, and continued to control their publication until 1921. That same year, a charter of incorporation was approved by the Secretary of the State of Texas for "Texas Student Publications, Incorporated." TSP was incorporated for 50 years, until the end of its charter in 1971. At that time, university administrators and representatives of TSP collaborated to draft the original version of the TSP Handbook and Declaration of Trust. These documents established TSP as an auxiliary enterprise of the university, falling under the umbrella of student affairs.
In the years that followed, TSP acquired several additional media units. While many of these subunits came and went, a total of five remain today: The Daily Texan, 1921; Cactus Yearbook, 1921; KVRX Radio, 1987; TSTV, 1990; and the Texas Travesty, 1998. Beginning with the adoption of KVRX Radio in the late 1980s, the scope of TSP began to reach much further than "publications." For this reason, the Board elected to change the name of Texas Student Publications to Texas Student Media (TSM) with the initial adoption of this Handbook revision in 2002 and the subsequent development of a new Declaration of Trust in 2007. It is believed that "Texas Student Media" will much more accurately represent the full extent of the organization's services.