James Brown


Before coming to WXXI News, James spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for Rochester City Newspaper. While at City, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.

James cut his teeth in journalism as an associate producer and weekend assignment editor at WHEC-TV.

A Rochester native and an East High School graduate, James earned a Bachelor of Communications degree from Niagara University where he won awards for his poetry and resurrected the school’s radio station.

James Brown WXXI

The city has ended the public comment period for its first comprehensive plan since Bill Johnson was mayor in the 1990s. 

Since Rochester 2034 was announced in the spring, people have had a lot to say about it. 

Dorainne Kirkmire manages planning for the city. She said four people in her department are cataloging hundreds of comments from city residents.

James Brown WXXI

A quarter-million-dollar project to honor Frederick Douglass broke ground Thursday on South Avenue. 

The plan to move a statue of Douglass to a more visible spot in Highland Park and shine a light on it was hatched 10 years ago by the Rev. Julius Jackson on the statue’s 110th anniversary.

“As many have said, this has been a lifetime struggle,” said Jackson. “A long time coming moreso.”

James Brown WXXI

The New York State Child Victims Act took effect Wednesday, allowing all alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue over the next year.

Over 30 lawsuits were filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester on the first day alone, including one from Peter Saracino of Phelps.

Saracino said his family was very active in the Catholic Church in the 1960s. He even had a cousin who was studying to be a priest. 

James Brown WXXI

More than 50 people filled Rochester City Council chambers midday Tuesday to share their feelings about a proposed rate increase for RG&E and NYSEG customers. 

If approved, an average NYSEG bill would go up about $11, while an average RG&E bill would go up about $4. Representatives from Avangrid, the parent company of both utilities, told the crowd that the increases are needed for maintenance and infrastructure improvements.

Tera Cain, a parking attendant from Rochester, doesn’t buy that.

A leader in Rochester’s Hispanic community says the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, feels different than other shootings.

Julio Saenz is director of communications and development for the Ibero-American Action League, a nonprofit that focuses on issues affecting the region’s Hispanic population. Saenz expressed concern that incidents where Hispanic-looking people are targeted could become a trend. 

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The State Department of Education has responded favorably to the Rochester City School District’s plan to improve itself, after more than a year of intense scrutiny on district leadership.

A NYS Supreme Court Justice has ruled that Rochester cannot put an advisory referendum about the future of the city school board on the November ballot.

In the decision released on Friday, Judge Scott Odorisi acknowledges “the great challenges facing the Rochester City School District.”  He states that the city’s “proactive proposals for remedying the situation are admirable, but not legally permissible.”

Emily Hunt for WXXI News

The judge who's hearing a Rochester City School District lawsuit against the city of Rochester says he'll issue a decision at 10 a.m. Friday. 

The district's lawsuit aims to stop a referendum that would approve a temporary state takeover of the district and removal of the school board. 

James Brown WXXI

Promises are being made across the street from 447 Thurston Road. 

Tenants say the building is roach- and rat-infested, with few storm windows and no sprinkler system. Raw sewage was found there. 

But state and local officials say things are changing. It’s one of two apartment buildings in southwest Rochester being remodeled with $10 million in state money announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.

Jameel Abdul Malik lived there for 20 years. He attended the announcement across from his old apartment.

James Brown WXXI

Two board members of the National Women’s Hall of Fame addressed one of their most controversial inductees Tuesday. 

Actress Jane Fonda, along with the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, activist Angela Davis and eight other groundbreaking women, will become the newest members of the hall in September.