John Dillon: “When he reports on an issue, he learns it inside-out.”

From a post on vtdigger.org by Paul Heintz headlined “Veteran journalist John Dillon to retire.”

After four decades in journalism, Vermont Public Radio reporter John Dillon is preparing to turn off the tape recorder. The 66-year-old says he plans to retire in May.

“It’s just been a real privilege to have a ringside seat to it all,” he said.

Dillon has been a fixture at VPR since the Colchester-based public radio station began building out its news operation roughly two decades ago. When he joined VPR in 2001, he became its first full-time staff reporter. He spent years covering the legislature from the station’s Montpelier bureau and served as its news director from 2013 to 2017. He has since worked as a senior reporter and as a contributor to the New England News Collaborative.

Dillon is best known for his award-winning — and sound-rich — coverage of energy, environmental and agricultural issues. His reporting has taken him to hydroelectric facilities in Quebec, the asbestos mines of Eden and many a cow barn.

“When he reports on an issue, he learns it inside-out,” said VPR vice president of news Sarah Ashworth. “He’s thorough and dedicated and he finds a way to tell a story and draw the listener in to what are sometimes really complicated topics.”…

The son of a State Department employee, Dillon spent his earliest years abroad but grew up in the Washington, D.C., area. He moved to Burlington in 1974 to attend the University of Vermont and upon graduating went to work as a reporter for the Vermont Vanguard Press, an early alternative weekly.

After a stint in D.C. as a researcher for syndicated columnist Jack Anderson, Dillon returned to Vermont and reported for United Press International and then the Rutland Herald’s and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus’ Sunday paper.

“The great thing about this kind of work is you have a ticket to talk to really interesting people and bring their stories out to the public,” Dillon said. He called it “humbling to try to do people’s stories justice.”

Dillon said his plans for the future are “TBD,” though he hopes to continue reporting or writing in some capacity.

“I don’t think I’m going to just sit around and catch trout all day,” said Dillon, who has been known to take a fishing rod with him on reporting assignments. “Maybe half the day.”

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