J/MS professor uses 9/11 Project to teach at Lithuanian university

Jerry Aumente in Lithuania
Prof. Jerry Aumente with his class of Lithuanian students.

By Liz Fuerst 

When J/MS Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jerome Aumente went to teach this fall at the University of Vilnius in Lithuania on a Fulbright Specialist grant assignment, he had his graduate students study the J/MS department’s acclaimed 9/11 Student-Journalism Project as an example of using the multi platform strengths of the internet to tell a story.

Rutgers’ 9/11 Project involved text, still photographs and video to profile children of New Jersey 9/11 victims on the 10th anniversary of the Twin Towers tragedy (see related story about alumnus Jason Scharch on page 5).

Aumente said he found the
J/MS reportage “very moving” and felt he could use it to help the Vilnius students create a multimedia website on health and environment issues.

Although the university was founded in the 16th century,  its outlook on the media is decidedly modern. Aumente spent four weeks there as a guest of the Institute of Journalism and the Faculty of Communication, lecturing on new media and the internet. He also advised the journalism faculty on curriculum development and research initiatives.

The health and environmental website “was custom designed for Lithuania and the greater Vilnius region,” Aumente reported, “and the students did a superb job planning its graphic design, editorial content, budget, technology, advertising and marketing strategies.

“Their theoretical study of new media and internet wedded professionally with the real-life practical challenge they confronted.”

Aumente donated to the institute library copies of his own books on new media and those of the J/MS Department Chair, John Pavlik.

The globe-trotting Aumente has been very busy this year on journalism consulting projects abroad.

He spent some of the summer in Mozambique, where he completed a detailed evaluation of health journalism and communication training on behalf of the Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The school has a major grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to combat communicable diseases, with a focus on HIV-AIDS.

“Mozambique is a vibrant, developing nation emerging from its Portuguese colonial history and facing serious health challenges where one of six of its people has contracted HIV-AIDS,” Aumente said. “The country has launched a nationwide campaign to fight it, and a new generation of trained health journalists and health communicators is urgently needed.”