It’s the biggest story of the year, and Multifamily Executive had it first.

The acquisition of Riverstone by Greystar was an absolute blockbuster, a deal that will alter the competitive landscape of the property management industry for years to come. And many of you first learned of it through our Twitter account and website.

While I’m proud that we broke the news, I’m even prouder of how we broke it.

MFE’s entire staff was on its annual editorial retreat June 3—a chance for everyone to brainstorm ideas and stories for the coming year. This year’s retreat was held in Virginia, at a farm-based housing development called Willowsford.

On the bus from our Washington, D.C., office to Willowsford, a friend in the industry tipped me off about the news in an e-mail. Sitting in the seat directly in front of me was senior reporter extraordinaire Les Shaver, who, by the way, recently came back to MFE to help drive our content, much to my delight. I showed Les the e-mail, he showed it to our junior reporter extraordinaire Lindsay Machak, and by the time we reached the farm, our collective adrenaline was pumping.

Problem was, we had a tour of the farm all lined up.

So there we were, being shuttled amid crops and goats and new houses, without WiFi, without computers, with the biggest story of the year just begging to be broken. So, as we listened to our tour guides, there was Lindsay sitting amid a zucchini patch, frantically making calls. And there was Les, doing the same amid rows of lettuce.

It wasn’t until after lunch that we finally got it confirmed from inside sources. But being without our computers, the only way we could get the news out was through Twitter. (If you haven’t already started following us on Twitter, you should, at @MFEmagazine.). On an incredibly bumpy bus ride home, we passed a laptop around like it was a bottle of wine, and when we got back to the office at around 6:30 p.m., we rushed to get the story up on our site.

The response was overwhelming: That hastily written piece of news had more than 20,000 clicks over the subsequent 24 hours, with more than 2,000 Google+ referrals, more than 1,500 Facebook likes, and about 1,000 LinkedIn referrals. What’s even cooler is that some Riverstone and Greystar staff posted a stream of comments on the article page, welcoming each other on board.

So, sometimes the story behind the story is quite a story itself.

But the reason I’m taking this victory lap is to remind everyone that Multifamily Executive belongs to you—we’re here to serve. If you ever have a tidbit of news you’d like us to explore—if you’ve heard things about your competitors, or your own company, that you’d like substantiated—just let us know, at, and we’ll do our best to uncover the truth.

It’s not just our job, it’s our passion, it’s what we love to do. Even when all we have is an idea, a smart phone, and the soft bleating of goats serenading us in the ­background.