Hilary Niles

Freelance Investigative Reporter

Hilary is an independent investigative reporter, data journalism consultant and researcher based in Montpelier. She specializes in telling stories of how public policy shapes people's daily lives. 

Hilary's radio work has been featured on WBUR's Here and Now and the Public Radio Exchange's Station Showcase. She earned a Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for excellence in 2013 for her research with Investigative Reporting Workshop founder Charles Lewis, of American University. 

Before moving to Vermont in 2013, Hilary studied in the graduate program at the Missouri School of Journalism, where she worked at Investigative Reporters and Editors. She previously graduated from the University of New Hampshire and Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, and served as founding program director at Portsmouth Community Radio in New Hampshire. 

Ways to Connect

Hilary Niles, file

The public’s right to access government information is firmly enshrined in Vermont law. And while there are successes, citizens also find little consistency or reliability among state agencies who control access to public records. 

Lisa Rathke / AP

Tony Sutton, the British car dealer who pieced together suspicions about Jay Peak’s immigrant-funded EB-5 developments, says he was disappointed with the state's response to the information he provided to regulators months before they took action.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Earlier this summer VPR reported that state officials received documentation of alleged fraud at Jay Peak Resort in 2014, a year and a half before filing charges against resort owner Ariel Quiros and president Bill Stenger.

The documentation came from an unusual source: one of the foreign investors in an EB-5 project at Jay Peak. He managed to piece together the alleged fraud before the state’s investigation even began.

Angela Evancie / VPR

A big question has lingered in the months since federal and state authorities charged Jay Peak developers with fraud: What did Gov. Peter Shumlin and other officials know about the alleged scam, and when did they know it?

Lisa Rathke / AP

Many foreign investors in Jay Peak’s EB-5 developments are scrambling in the wake of charges that the resort orchestrated a massive securities fraud with their money. But it’s more than just money riding on the outcome for some investors.

Legislation that would have made it easier for the state to decertify police offers for crimes and misconduct died in the Vermont Senate's Government Operations Committee earlier this week. 

Angela Evancie / VPR File

You may have heard about the nearly $1 million lawsuit the city of Rutland settled in December with a former police officer.

Vermont Interactive Technologies ceased operations last month at all 17 of its sites that had been used for job training, distance learning, bankruptcy proceedings, public hearings and more. Now, a plan for the state's public access TV stations to provide some of the service may be too late.

Hilary Niles / VPR

Vermont's decades-old statewide videoconferencing system is days away from being dismantled. But a central Vermont man who has fought the dissolution of Vermont Interactive Technologies is now taking his fight to court.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Vermont's state government has a long, backlogged list of information technology projects — potentially totaling more than $1 billion in the next five years. That much spending is hard to budget for — and harder still with the way Vermont now pays for many of these projects.

Aleksangel / iStock.com

Vermont’s state government is contemplating at least $1 billion of information technology projects in the coming years. The wish list is long, and some projects — even important ones — are likely to stay on it for a long time.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File Photo

Vermont Higher Education System. Vermont State Higher Education System. Vermont State College and University System … On second thought, “Vermont State Colleges” works just fine.

Hilary Niles / VPR

There's an old adage that, "it takes money to make money." A group of policymakers and community stakeholders is finding out it sometimes costs money to save money, too.

That's only one of many conundrums facing a group of people trying to figure out what to do with Vermont Interactive Technologies after its funding runs out at the end of the year.

Hilary Niles for VPR

State officials today will celebrate a Northeast Kingdom airport’s new and improved runway — a project several years and many million dollars in the making. Now, private developers are on the hook to deliver other improvements. And there’s some concern about delays in the developer’s timetable.

Hilary Niles / VPR

With 17 sites around the state, Vermont Interactive Technologies offers real-time video conferencing services, so Vermonters don’t have to travel too far to participate in certain classes, public hearings and the like. But the state-supported nonprofit will be shuttered at the end of this year, and users are still figuring out what that means for them. 

Hilary Niles for VPR

“Vermont State Colleges” refers to the state's public institutions for higher education: the Community College of Vermont, Johnson and Lyndon State Colleges, and the newly renamed Castleton University. But, what’s in a name? The chancellor and trustees are finding out, as they consider re-naming the state college system.

Hilary Niles for VPR

Politicians and government officials talk a lot about improving Vermont’s economy. But both politically and financially, there are limits to what the public sector can do. Now, for the second year in a row, a group of motorcycle-riding investors and entrepreneurs has set out across the state to pitch in.

Screen shot / Vermont Health Connect

More than a third of Vermont’s population is enrolled in Medicaid. Their health care claims every year number in the millions, and those claims add up to well over $1 billion — on par with the size of Vermont’s General Fund, or even bigger. 

But, like a lot of the state government’s technology, the IT system the Medicaid program runs on is really old: 30 years old. 

Aaron Shrewsbury

As the Vermont Legislature works to overcome a $100 million budget gap for fiscal year 2016, one of its largest fiscal liabilities remains outside the reach of the annual budget bill. The state gives up about $1 billion in tax breaks annually through policies that have remained largely unchanged in recent years, even as lawmakers struggle to balance budgets.