He was a distinguished professor emeritus in the School of Communication and Information (SC&I) at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he served as special counselor to the dean. He also was the founding director of SC&I’s Journalism Resources Institute (JRI) and founding chairman of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies.
Recognized as a leader in journalism education, Aumente helped train journalists around the world and made dozens of trips to Central and Eastern Europe in an effort to strengthen journalism in former Soviet-bloc countries. Under his direction, JRI trained more than 14,000 print and broadcast journalists. Aumente also served as a media consultant to major foundations and the U.S. State Department and was actively involved in university curriculum development.
Born in 1937 in New Jersey, Aumente earned an undergraduate degree from Rutgers-Newark and a graduate degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism.
He worked for a decade at newspapers, including The Detroit News, before returning to Rutgers in 1969. As a faculty member at the university’s Livingston College, he founded and directed the Department of Journalism and Urban Communications, as well as the Urban Communications Teaching and Research Center.
Aumente published several books including “From Ink on Paper to the Internet,” which won the Society of Professional Journalists national award for journalism research in 2008. His earlier books examined journalism in Eastern Europe, the development of electronic publishing and a guide for young people examining misinformation in the media.
In 1978, Aumente was a research associate at the Nieman Foundation as part of a nationwide review of study programs for professional print and broadcast journalists.
A regular contributor to Nieman Reports, Aumente reflected on his fellowship year at Harvard in the magazine’s 75th anniversary issue writing: “Archibald MacLeish, the founding curator of the Nieman program, once told me that the impact of the Nieman Fellows at Harvard was comparable to his spring ritual of hammering tenpenny nails into a board and using it to aerate the soil, which improved lawn growth. The Fellows put air into Harvard. I would add that our year of study, contemplation and exposure to new ideas nurtured our souls, broadened our horizons, and pumped fresh air into journalism, letting it breathe new life.”
In 2011, Rutgers’ Livingston Alumni Association (LAA) honored Aumente with its Livingston Legacy Award.