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.

It looks like the federal government will not be shut down again, but some problems remain.

Some families are facing a 50-day gap in between SNAP payments after getting their February benefits early because of the shutdown.

SNAP benefits are used to buy food, and organizations like Foodlink are concerned that the gap between payments will cause some people to run out of food faster.

To help those families, Foodlink will distribute additional food to 14 locations throughout western New York.


Monroe County Democrats and Republicans chose their preferred candidates for this year’s set of elections on Wednesday night.

Standing room only crowds (with the Democrats at the Holiday Inn on State Street and the Republicans at the Rochester Riverside Hotel around the corner on Main Street)  cheered as Republican incumbent Cheryl  Dinolfo  and Democratic challenger Adam Bello were unanimously designated by their parties to run for County Executive.

Bello, who is currently County Clerk,  says he’s running because he thinks the county needs to rethink how it spends money.

Longtime Assemblyman David Gantt says the Rochester City School District is “failing” students and he wants to change that.

The Rochester Democrat has two bills in conference to change how the district is managed. One would give more control to the superintendent and the other would give the mayor control of the district. Gantt said that system has improved New York City schools, and he believes Rochester should try it.

“Our kids are failing,” Gantt said. “Something has to change. That’s why I believe in mayoral control.”

James Brown WXXI

A backlog on the federal level is hurting local brewers.

Sen. Chuck Schumer brought that message to Rochester’s Genesee Brewery on Monday. Schumer said brewers are heavily regulated and must file applications with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in order to release new flavors, update labels or change the size of a bottle.

He said the partial federal shutdown in December and January caused a backlog of over 10,000 applications, which could delay summer releases.

James Brown / WXXI News

Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on lawmakers to make online predator blackmailing a federal crime. That’s when someone steals your personal information online and threatens you with it.

During a visit to Canandaigua Academy Friday, the New York Democrat and Senate Minority Leader announced that he’s sponsoring the bill because state laws like New York’s are inadequate. He says these blackmailing attempts cross state lines.

Emily Hunt / for WXXI News

The Rochester Board of Education’s response to a state report that demanded improvements in the management and graduation rates is now under review.

James Brown / WXXI News

The Rochester City School Board on Wednesday evening voted 4 to 2 to approve a plan it has to submit to the ‘Distinguished Educator’ appointed by the NYS Education Department.

Last fall, Jaime Aquino was appointed to look at the district’s problems and he issued a report that contained 84 recommendations to help the RCSD improve academic performance.

The deadline set by the state to submit its response to his recommendations was February 8.

A jury has awarded $1 to a man who accused Rochester police officers of using excessive force during his arrest.

It started six years ago when Benny Warr was involved in an altercation with three officers who were attempting to arrest Warr after they said he was shouting obscenities on Jefferson Avenue.

Cellphone and street camera footage showed Warr being pushed out of his wheelchair by two officers and kicked by another. Police said he was resisting arrest. Later that year, Warr filed suit against the officers, and former police chief James Sheppard.


Time is running out for the Rochester City School District to respond to Distinguished Educator Jamie Aquino’s report.

After years of sagging graduation rates, the report calls for a “total reset” of most parts of the district including finances, management, and educational outcomes.

The response is due Friday.


With temperatures finally headed back above freezing, this might be a good time for homeowners to clear sidewalks of ice and snow.

Ericka Jones is an advocate for the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester. She uses a wheelchair to get around. She says this winter has been tough on her and a lot of other people with disabilities.

“Honestly it really only takes about an inch of snow for me to get stuck,” Jones said. “And that’s happened at least once or twice this winter.”