Ren LaForme is an Interactive Learning Producer at Poynter’s News University, but strongly prefers his vanity title, Executive Director of Awesome. He is one half of the duo responsible for #40BetterHours, a project to improve the workweek, and runs the Knight-funded digital tools catalog. He is also the cofounder of ONA’s Tampa Bay chapter and cofounder of Tampa Bay Media & Digital, a meetup group for locals who work in news media or on the Internet.
Born in Lockport, New York, LaForme credits his interest in news to reading newspapers with his grandfather as a child. He earned an M.A. in journalism and media studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in summer 2013. For his culminating work, he created a “Snow Fall”-like online journalism project about the oyster town of Apalachicola, Florida (it was mostly just an excuse to eat oysters).
LaForme has presented for the Blue Ocean Film Festival, Society of Professional Journalists, Association of Food Journalists, Edward R. Murrow Program, ESPN, and more.