Last night you learned Murilee's heading off into the sunset. But wait, there's more ch-ch-changes here at Jalopnik. Hey, it's a mid-cycle refresh.
First, an update on where Jalopnik stands after I laid down a gameplan for Jalopnik's revitalization almost a year ago with the Awesomeness Manifesto. In the past year, thanks to some amazing stories from every member of the team along with your willingness to help grow the next generation of auto enthusiast by spreading the gospel through Facebook and every other means possible — we've seen traffic grow almost 80%.
In fact, this past week we hit over four million readers per month as measured by Google Analytics — that's our highest monthly readership ever in the history of the site (also, we're apparently eating more beets). And it's not just readers, it's also interaction — comments have more than doubled over the same period. We almost doubled our readership during a period where almost every other automotive outlet remained flat. That's absolutely astonishing — and it's a testament to the team here at Jalopnik and your willingness to spread our stories and interact with us.
But sometimes, even in times of great success, change must come. Not everyone works for the same place forever — and, sadly, sometimes changes are the nature of the business. Sam Smith left a month ago in search of less structured freelance gigs (don't blame him for being tardy on a farewell post — it's my fault it hasn't gone up yet. I'm rectifying that this afternoon). Then, Murilee told me a few weeks ago of his plans to leave at the end of this month. I thought that was the extent of the changes I'd be announcing today, until Ben informed me Friday he was leaving the site. We wish Ben, Sam and Murilee much success in their new endeavors. Sad as it is to part ways with our colleagues, turnover like this often times provides great opportunity.
We've already seen the truth in that. Sam Smith's departure a month ago freed up room to hire Justin Hyde — and his brilliant stories on secret cadavers, saving 747s from crashing, cop car exclusives and solving the mysteries of forgotten car dealerships are already amazing additions to the Jalopnik library.
But y'all demand and deserve more. So, you're going to get it. In the short term, to help augment Justin's features and Matt's solid-as-a-rock news coverage — and because I'm sitting in a hotel room in Stratford-Upon-Avon in the UK at the moment on what is now a very ill-timed trip to drive some Jaguars ahead of the Paris Motor Show — I've asked for help from some old friends and one new one.
John Krewson's agreed to step in for a while as our contributing editor for road tests. You'll be seeing his first contribution later this week. Wes Siler has also agreed to come back for a few days to provide some support. We're also going to try out a feminine voice on the site for at least the next week. Her name is Ms. Motor and I'll let her say hello in a little bit.
But that's just the short term. In the long term, Murilee and Ben's departure give us the opportunity to find a new crop of legendary writers for the team. And when I say "us," I mean "us," because although I'll be making the choice for Ben's replacement in Detroit (hold on to your resumes for a moment until you see the position description later today), I'll be leaving the choice of a new weekend editor up to you, the readers and commenters of Jalopnik (more, also, on that this afternoon). In fact, you'll not only help decide our new weekend editor, it might actually be you.
So yes, Jalopnik won't be the same... it'll be different and better. It's mid-cycle refresh time — so trust in me again to come through with the awesome for you just as I did after the Manifesto. Just bear with us as we work through the dust, dirt and motor oil to continue to build the best automotive enthusiast outlet on the planet.