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.

Denise Young / WXXI News

Bar and restaurant owners across Rochester saw the new COVID-19 lockdowns coming.

Starting Wednesday, dining at restaurants in orange zones can only happen outdoors, with a maximum of four people per table. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday designated a swatch of Monroe County -- including parts of Brighton, Irondequoit, Gates and a large part of the city of Rochester -- as orange zones as COVID-19 infections increase. 

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Ephraim Gebre and Jared Diaz are on vacation. In a Rochester parking lot.

By day, they work for a boutique New York City ad firm. But since the spring, when they're not working, they and two other colleagues have been making statements through building-sized art projects. Diaz says it's the latest part of their "I AM" series, featuring pictures taken by Danny Lyon, a famed photographer of the civil rights movement.

Rochester City School District

Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small laid out a plan Thursday night to reopen school buildings for city school students. All students have attended classes remotely so far this school year.

Students would have the option to attend school in person a few days a week and continue remotely on the other days. It would start with elementary school students with middle and high school students  phased in later. The plan is subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Former Urban League CEO William Clark has joined the Rochester Board of Education. 

Clark was CEO of the Urban League of Greater Rochester for 38 years. He replaces Natalie Sheppard, who left the board for a position at the Monroe County Board of Elections in August.


Sarah Clark and Demond Meeks were sworn into their New York state Assembly seats Thursday. Both seats were vacant and their work started immediately.

Clark fills the 136th District seat, which is made up of Irondequoit, Brighton, and parts of Rochester. She spent much of her career as an aide in the U.S. Senate offices of Hillary Clinton and Kirsten Gillbrand. The seat has been vacant since early this year, when Jamie Romeo was appointed Monroe County clerk.

Screenshot of a zoom meeting

About 40 people attended a hearing held Thursday night by the Commission on Racial and Structural Equity that focused on disparities in the criminal justice system. 

The commission, which was founded in June in response to an order from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is expected to analyze policies, procedures, and even laws in Monroe County and the city of Rochester. As part of that work, they’re holding multiple public hearings.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Monroe County Health Department said Tuesday that there are 217 new cases of COVID-19 in the county.

Of those cases, 61 people are in their 20s, 42 people are in their 50s and 26 people are in their 60s.

The seven-day rolling positive rate is 3.95%. 

In the Finger Lakes region, 136 people are hospitalized, with 31 of them in the ICU. 

The number of deaths remains unchanged at 307.

The average number of tests over the last three days is 1,714. There have been 252,488 tests since the pandemic began in March. 

Rochester Police Body Camera video

A grand jury is hearing from the New York Attorney General’s office in the case of Daniel Prude.

The case got national attention when body camera footage showed Prude suffocating while being restrained by Rochester Police in March after they responded to a mental health call. He was revived, hospitalized, and died a week later. The video became public in September.

James Brown / WXXI News

A memo took center stage during the confirmation hearing for the first leader of Rochester’s Police Accountability Board. 

The ten-page document was written by Conor Dwyer Reynolds early this week. The Police Accountability board wants him to be its first Executive Director. 

James Brown / WXXI News

Mail-in voting was commonplace this year and Zach King, chair of the Monroe County Democratic Committee, said it should stay that way. 

An executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo allowed all eligible voters to vote by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic. King said more options is good for democracy.