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San Diego Public Information Office Records

Identifier: MS-0450

Scope and Contents

The San Diego Public Information Office Records documents the establishment of an information service for San Diego and the daily responsibilities of the Public Information Office (PIO) in the county. The collection consists of community liaising program files, correspondence, memorandums, financial reports, and purchase orders documenting the management and daily responsibilities of the PIO. The collection also includes news releases written and released by the PIO, and newspaper clippings. The collection dates from 1971- 1978, however there is minimal documentation for the years 1971-1975. The collection consists of four series: Committee Files, Administrative Files, News Releases, and Newspaper Clippings. The Committee Files are divided into two sub-series: Community Liaising Files and Projects and Programs Files. The Administrative Files are also divided into two sub-series: Correspondence and Memorandums, and Financial Records.

The Committee Files series documents the Public Affairs unit which distributed and liaised between communities and development agencies, and the Publications unit which created skits, slide shows, and pamphlets for County projects and programs. It consists of two sub-series: Community Liaising files, and Projects and Programs. The Community Liaising files sub-series consists of minutes and agendas for San Diego County communities which were distributed by the PIO to the general public. The sub-series also includes minutes and agendas from the Chief Administrative Office, the Civil Service Commission, Environmental Development Agency, and Integrated Planning Office. It dates from 1975-1978 and is files alphabetically by community name. The Projects and Programs sub-series document the tasks and community outreach programs the Public Information Director and staff carried out on a daily basis. The Projects and Programs files also include general files such as job descriptions, policies, procedures, reports, and office information.  It dates from 1972-1976 and is filed alphabetically.

The Administrative Files series documents the Staff Services unit of the PIO and contains the financial records and inter-departmental documents used by the Public Information Director and staff throughout the duration of the offices existence, and documents the spending habits and cutbacks to the County department in the 1970's. It consists of two sub-series: Correspondence and Memorandums and Financial Records. The Correspondence and Memorandums sub-series consists of inter-departmental agendas, memorandums, and correspondence, as well as correspondence with other County departments and community programs and documents the everyday tasks of the PIO staff. It dates from 1973-1976 and is filed alphabetically. The Financial Records sub-series consists of budget analysis, fiscal and quarterly reports, purchase orders, and bills and documents spending habits and cutbacks during county-wide budget shortfalls in the 1970's. The Correspondence and Memorandums are arranged in alphabetical order and date from 1973-1976.  The sub-series dates from 1972-1977 with a majority of reports dated from 1974-1976, and is filed alphabetically.

The News Releases series documents the Media unit of the PIO and includes a copy of the majority of news releases distributed by the PIO. It includes some news releases from different County departments such as the Office of the Tax Collector, San Diego Region Overall Economic Development Program, Water Conservation, Department of Human Services, and Air Pollution Control District. The series also includes issues of News Across the Board; press releases from the County Board of Supervisors dating from 1976-1978.  The series dates from 1972-1973 and 1975-1978, and is arranged in chronological order.

The Newspaper Clippings series documents stories and events significant to local county government published by local newspapers.  It includes clippings from nearly all newspapers in the county and range from 1971- 1978. There is only one clipping from 1971, no clippings from 1972-1974, and only one dated clipping from 1975 along with three topical folders from 1975. An official newspaper clipping service was established by the Public Information Office and 1977 and continued through 1978. Most of the clippings are arranged in chronological order; there is one section from dated April 1977 to May 1977 that is arranged alphabetically by newspaper title.


  • Creation: 1971-1978
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1976-1978


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Historical Note

In 1970, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors became aware that the public lacked understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and limitations of the county government. The County Board of Supervisors established the San Diego Public Information Office (PIO) which was developed into a public relations firm under the Chief Administrative Office and charged with creating a communications program for San Diego County government. Frank Aleshire was elected as Chief Administrative Officer for the County in 1973, and oversaw the PIO for two years. During which time the PIO developed and began implementing a broad, comprehensive public information program for the County. In order to perform the tasks, the office was divided into four units: Media, Publications, Public Affairs, and Staff Services.

The Media unit was responsible for providing information and assistance to the news media servicing San Diego county public broadcasting and news releases. Media created and distributed news releases to local newspapers for events and programs put on by various County departments. The Publications unit provided slide shows, audio-visual programs, and pamphlets for projects around San Diego. The skits and shows were used by different community outreach programs. The Public Affairs unit developed and implemented programs designed to communicate directly with various community groups and to coordinate with the planning department. In the 1970’s, many communities were built across San Diego and the Public Affairs unit recorded and distributed the notices, agendas, and minutes of all the community planning groups and the development agencies. Staff Services provided specialized clerical support for the whole department. Staff Services paid and kept information about vendors, made reports and budgets for the office, and distributed that information to the County.

San Diego County underwent many changes in the 1970's, some motivated by budget cuts and job freezes. Fred Christensen came in as Public Information Director in the early 1970's interested in re-evaluating the program and re-designing it, and Hal Peyer, Assistant Director was hired in 1975 to help reformulate the program. In the late 1970's, the PIO was moved into the County's Program Development Agency along with several other departments. Since the 1980's, the Public Information Office moved several times. In 1997, the Board of Supervisors developed the Department of Media and Public Relations (DMPR) to ensure information about county issues, programs and services move quickly and accurately to the public, employees, and news organizations. In 2010, it was re-organized and re-named the County Communications Office and is responsible for media and public relations for the County of San Diego, including emergency communications, media relations, news releases, news letters, publications and several major multimedia Board presentations. While the Office's responsibilities have remained the same, its name, job titles, and staffing structure have reflected changing times and the importance of the internet as an important communications vehicle.


29.39 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. Committee Files

   1.  Community Liaising, 1975-1978

   2.  Projects and Programs, 1972-1976

II. Administrative Files

   1.  Correspondence and Memorandums, 1973-1976

   2.  Financial Records, 1972-1976

III. News Releases, 1972-1978

IV. Newspaper Clippings, 1977-1978

Source of Acquisition

Hal Peyer



San Diego Public Information Office Records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US