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 News

With city schools closed, recreation centers and a few schools have become a “go to” place to get meals for some of Rochester’s children. Those meals are typically given to Rochester City School students at schools but since an order Saturday, shutting down Monroe County schools, Foodlink, the school district and the City of Rochester are filling the gaps.

About 50 meals were served at Gantt Community R Center on 700 North Street but just before lunchtime it was quiet. The attendants, who waited to give out food, wore face masks and gloves as they sat and waited, turning away adults who didn’t know the center's gym was closed. 

James Brown/WXXI News

Monroe County Council of School Superintendents president Thomas Putnam said Friday that the county’s suburban schools will remain open for now, despite coronavirus concerns. 

Putnam, who is also superintendent of the Penfield school district, said the decision was unanimous among the county’s districts. He said any potential decision to close schools would come after consultations with the Monroe County Health Department. 

James Brown / WXXI News

Among the many local events affected by the coronavirus outbreak is Downtown Rising 2020, an event to discuss development projects in downtown Rochester. 

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, the event's organizer and Rochester Downtown Development Corp. president, said 4,000 people had been invited to the event, and postponing it is “the prudent thing to do.”

James Brown / WXXI News

Under orders from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the entire State University of New York system will switch to distance learning to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

That means SUNY Geneseo, The College at Brockport, Monroe Community College, Finger Lakes Community College and other state colleges will stop in-person classes on March 19.


The Rochester City School District is making plans to deal with the coronavirus if it spreads to our region. 

Spokesperson Carlos Garcia said the district is following the lead of the Monroe County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control. The district is also making plans internally.

James Brown / WXXI News

The State University of New York is working on a plan to quarantine hundreds of returning study-abroad students on several campuses, and it might include the College at Brockport. 

The two-week quarantines would affect people returning from certain countries that were hit hard by novel coronavirus outbreaks. 

James Brown / WXXI News

The leader of the state university system visited the College at Brockport on Thursday to address racial issues there after the firing of Chief Diversity Officer Cephas Archie.

Her visit started on Wednesday night with a dinner meeting with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. Johnson said they discussed topics like how universities can help revive entrepreneurship in the area and Archie.

Archie’s firing in late January caused an uproar on campus. Local leaders like Warren chastised Brockport’s leadership on how they handled the firing.

James Brown / WXXI News

Monroe County Legislature President Joe Carbone said sick leave should be unlimited for county employees until the novel coronavirus is contained. 

“We don’t want any of our Monroe County employees to have any repercussions if they don’t feel well and they want to take a day off and they don’t have a day off coming,” said Carbone.

James Brown / WXXI News

Keeping plastic bags out of landfills and the environment is the goal of New York State’s ban of the bags in grocery stores, but Foodlink’s CEO Julia Tedesco said there could be other consequences.

“We are also acutely aware and have had concerns that it could have a negative impact on low-income households who might not be able to afford these reusable bags,” said Tedesco.


The Rochester School Board has voted to extend the partnership with the University of Rochester for operating East High School. That’s been going on for five years and it will continue now for another five years. 

Superintendent of East High School, Shaun Nelms, is pleased that the graduation rate at East has risen from 33% to about 70%, but he says they will continue to work to improve that performance.

Nelms says he looks forward to what the next several years will bring not only for East, but for other schools in the district.