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

The Childhood Poverty Reduction Act passed overwhelmingly during the state legislative session that wrapped up this week. Now, local leaders are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign it. 

If signed, it would make New York the first state in the nation with a law stating that it intends to cut the child poverty rate in half within 10 years. It would also create a council to make recommendations on how to achieve that goal. Lawmakers and the governor would decide if or how to implement the proposals.

James Brown / WXXI News

As part of the city of Rochester’s 2021-22 budget, which was approved in a close vote on Tuesday, $5 million will be used to fund the city’s Police Accountability Board. That’s nearly 10 times its current budget. 

Max Schulte / WXXI News

The next time you visit the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial, things will look a little different. A $12 million, 4,500-square-foot expansion of the building, along with numerous renovations, were unveiled Tuesday. The renovations are part of the Roc the Riverway project, started in 2018, aimed to showcase waterfront property in Rochester. The arena renovations are the fourth project to be completed so far; dozens more are expected in the coming years, all backed by state funds. 

James Brown / WXXI News

With no one knowing what June would look like amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Monroe County Democratric Board of Elections Commissioner Jackie Ortiz said Friday that her team took precautions when choosing locations for early voting in the primary elections, which starts this weekend.

Ortiz said she’s worked with her colleagues to secure bigger locations amid complaints from last year about lack of room for social distancing. 

Max Schulte/WXXI News

Norman Jones is old enough to remember the Inner Loop being built more than half a century ago.

“I have a clear memory of that machinery,” Jones said. “When you’re 4, 5, 6 years old, and you see big trucks and the excavators, you go, ‘Wow.’ When you see it all moved around, you just thought it was the coolest thing, and probably everyone else thought it was the coolest thing.”

The 63-year-old commissioner of the city Department of Environmental Services keeps two outsized frames hanging on the wall of the agency’s conference room at City Hall that act as his guides when he considers the future of the sunken expressway.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Interim Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott said Tuesday, that she wants to add a historical perspective to its training programs in order to connect with the community. 

During one leg of its marathon review of the city department budgets, Rochester City Council peppered Herriott, flanked by much of her command staff, with questions about her plans for the $90.8 million Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren wants to allocate for police.

An executive order allowing the sale of alcohol with takeout food in New York state has been extended, and will now end June 5. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the order to allow the sales when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state last year. 


Now that New York state has legalized recreational cannabis, AAA of Western New York says residents should be careful when they smoke or eat it, especially when they intend to get behind the wheel. 

Under the new law, it is legal for anyone 21 and older to possess up to 3 ounces of the drug.

Since Washington state legalized recreational pot in 2012, AAA’s Tony Spada Jr. said, there’s been an alarming trend: More drivers involved in fatal car crashes have pot in their systems.

During a panel discussion Wednesday, Spada said his group’s stance is clear.

James Brown / WXXI News

Two weeks ago, members of the Monroe County Legislature’s Black and Asian Caucus released an anonymous letter they received which contained a bevy of complaints about Monroe Community Hospital Among the complaints: the hospital is understaffed, managers mandate double shifts at the last minute, and if someone refuses the extra hours, they get punished and sometimes fired. The hospital is run by Monroe County.

James Brown / WXXI News

Less than 10% of tenants have access to an attorney during disputes with their landlords and local Democrats are trying to change that. 

During a news conference outside the Hall of Justice Friday, the state's Democratic delegation announced a $3.5 million tenant defense fund that will be split among agencies in several upstate counties. The program’s goal is to stabilize housing and prevent homelessness.