Editor’s note: This city profile is part of a larger project in which Daily Universe reporters traveled across Utah and Wyoming to investigate the state of local newspapers.
Cities: Highland and Alpine
Population: 29,328 combined
History: Alpine was first settled in 1851 under the name Mountainville, and it was incorporated in 1855. It stayed a small farming community until the 1990s when the mountain views and separation from a growing metropolitan area attracted families. Alpine has been growing since the 1990s, and according to U.S. census data, the vast majority of residents are families with children.
Just south of Alpine, Highland was not settled until the 1870s. Pioneers from Scotland settled in Highland and named the city after the Scottish highlands because they felt the landscape was similar. The town sits at an elevation of nearly 5,000 feet, which is actually almost 1,000 feet taller than Scotland’s highest peak. Like Alpine, Highland has grown rapidly in recent years. The population was 8,172 in 2000 and grew to 18,957 in 2017.
News sources: Highland has had some changes in local news sources over the last year. “We used to have Crossroad Journal that used to cover local news; it stop publishing last fall. Because of this, as a community we have struggle to get local printed news,” said Kurt Ostler, a member of the Highland City Council. A reporter for the Daily Herald, a newspaper based in Provo, used to cover Northern Utah County but also left last fall, according to Ostler.
Residents are turning to Facebook to get their news instead of a published news source. “I feel if someone really wants information, and if they stay active on social media, they seem to be getting informative information. The struggle is correct information. I know the city is trying to do Facebook updates and newsletters to help keep informed,” Ostler said.
While people can find information online, it is not always correct and the community is in need of unbiased news reporting.
Highland and Alpine area residents care about a variety of community issues including education, community events, and local sports. Residents say they get their news by speaking with their neighbors, checking Facebook and other online news sites, and reading newsletters from the city. These methods of communication will have to fill the gaps a local newspaper leaves not only in this city but in many other towns across the country.