Watch this space – Forres Web adds video news to popular website

Providing up-to-date information and resources about the Forres area is what this website has been doing for more than 18 years.

And it’s about to turn a new corner and become even more informative for local people with support from a local businessman.

Marc Hindley, who is a web designer and filmmaker has taken on the role of running the website and says he will turn it into a vibrant local video news portal that will be as useful for locals as it has always been for tourists.

With a 30-year career in journalism before diversifying into digital marketing, he says his plan to deliver local news online has already captured the attention of the Forres community.

Local news on video

Marc Hindley, making a video in Forres
Action – Forres people have been so willing to get on camera.

“As proof of concept, we ran a few news articles interviewing local people on video. I was blown away by the response, with some videos being viewed tens of thousands of times in just a few days. And by harnessing social media, we are broadcasting the Forres name far and wide.

“Within six weeks, more than 500 people have joined our Facebook page, that’s more than 10 a day, and we are reaching thousands of people a week since starting with video. A recent post containing pictures from the Pages of the Sea remembrance event at Roseisle reached 50,000 people in just over 24 hours.

While Marc believes he is on the right track, he says there is work to be done to sustain it, and then build on it. His background in journalism and digital media means he will be able to learn from the data and use it to the site’s advantage.

Working alongside newspapers

Forres Web statistics
Stats amazing! – Reaching more than 100,000 people in 28 days and 18,000 engagements in less than 36 hours

“Forres Web isn’t competing with newspapers. They do a valuable job reporting news in their daily and weekly papers, but there is no online service that reports news in this way. This service will complement newspapers, and indeed we will post links to their website when they publish news we don’t.”

The website will be relaunched to be more user-friendly and will accommodate a variety of news topics including local news, events, entertainment, business, and sport. As a businessman, he wants to develop a vibrant business news section and encourages owners and managers to get in touch whenever they have news to tell.

The brand will be developed to reflect the importance of local news, local events and local people, and hopes it will increasingly become part of the community itself.

“Having written hundreds of news articles for newspapers, we’ve now developed a workflow and technique that means we can turn around a TV-style news interview in the same amount of time it would take to write it up. There are logistical issues to conquer such as whether we use Facebook, YouTube or both, and while captioning videos improves readability it slows down the production time, but all these things will come with experience. We’re learning how people consume news online with everything we post.”

The importance of local

“The local aspect is important. If we keep the news to a definitive local area, then we can expand our coverage within that boundary instead of seeking to go beyond it. I think that’s really important for our development. As Forres Web expands, as I hope it will, our resources will stay within the IV36 postcode area.”

Plans for the site will include more collaboration with local businesses, community groups, and events. Promotion of the area will have a positive impact inside and outside of the area.

The website was started in 2000 by local man Jack McAllister, who built the site at his own expense and developed it into Google’s favourite resource on Forres.

“Jack is the man who made this site what it is today. He put in an incredible amount of time and effort into making it a one-stop-shop for everything in Forres. The whole town knows about the website, but very few know who Jack is, but that’s the way he liked it. Working away behind the scenes, sourcing local events to list, and taking photos to populate galleries. By adding news to this mix, Forres Web will become bigger and better.”

This video about a local business was watched 40,000 times. 

Funding challenge

Marc says the biggest challenge is financing it. He is running the website on a voluntary basis and hopes the service can attract funding or be self-supporting. The website has paid for itself in the past by running ads, but costs were low. While introducing news increases the website’s appeal, it also potentially adds to costs.

“Monetising the site will be essential. We can’t provide all the things we want to do without some sort of funding, and I am volunteering my time and skills at the moment as proof of concept.

“Forres Web will be overhauled significantly to make the news more easily consumable, and all the favourites such as event listings, community resources and the business directory will stay. It’s an exciting project for the town.” 

Marc has gained experience in the online news space. In 2000, he set up 12 newspaper websites for Scottish Provincial Press (SPP), including the Forres Gazette, and went on to become group web editor.

He left SPP in 2008 and set up an online news aggregator called Moray Firth Live, which published news from resources from the north and north-east, and won a national award for use of social media in 2009 beating Channel Four and other media giants.

“The opportunity to do it all again, on a local scale was one I could not resist,” he added.

Any business, community group or event can send their news to

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