I just sent the following email out to Jalopnik staff. I thought I'd share the good news with our faithful readers as well.

Team,

As Jalopnik grows from its auto industry insider niche to the largest car culture publication on the web (2.1 million monthly readers), we're continuing to crank up the awesomeness on our top-notch writing talent.

First, Sam Smith has decided to step over to the position of contributing editor for road tests, where he'll be focusing his time and prodigious writing talent toward providing more awesome first-hand coverage of cool iron.

Second, Justin Hyde will be joining our team as Jalopnik's new features editor. Justin has been the Washington bureau reporter for the Detroit Free Press since 2005, covering the $86 billion bailout of Detroit's automakers, battles over fuel economy regulations and massive auto safety recalls. Last year, he was the only Detroit reporter to have a sit-down interview with President Obama, as part of the Free Press's award-winning series on the bailouts, "Rising From The Wreckage."

Before coming to the Freep, Justin covered the auto industry, telecommunications, Detroit and Michigan for seven years at Reuters and The Associated Press. His high point during that glorious time? Pontiac's unveiling of the Aztek.

As you might expect from a Golden Quill award winner, Justin has a knack for the big picture and a clean, clear writing style. He put it to great use already for our piece How The U.S. Government Killed The Safest Car Ever Built (already 350,000 views and 184,000+ new uniques and counting) and we're eagerly awaiting more of the same.

Please join with me in congratulating both of them.

Ray