THE BLOG
03/21/2013 10:58 pm ET Updated May 22, 2013

Huffington This Week: Crime Waves and Echo Chambers

In this week's issue of Huffington, Gerry Smith gives us an in-depth report on how smartphones and tablets, especially Apple products, have created an entirely new -- and very dangerous -- criminal ecosystem. Smith shines a light on each part of this new global phenomenon, and shows how the story continues -- for both the phones and the victims -- long after the original crime.

He introduces us to Hwangbum Yang, a 26-year-old Korean immigrant who was just starting to realize his dreams. Having worked his way up as a cook at the Museum of Modern Art's restaurant, he carried a notepad to write down the dishes he was going to serve in his own restaurant one day. He also carried his iPhone, which his sister Sunah gave to him two years ago. In April of last year, he was killed for it as he returned home from work.

"Yang's murder stands as a chilling example of a modern-day crime wave sweeping the country," writes Smith. "The spike in robberies has grown so pronounced that police have coined a term for such crimes: Apple picking."

It's a global market worth $30 billion a year, attracting criminal gangs from all over the world: from Mexican drug cartels to organized crime rings to the militant group Hezbollah.

And as Smith shows, stopping the robberies is not easy, requiring unprecedented and never-ending joint efforts between phone makers, carriers and governments. "It's a bit like squeezing a balloon," Jack Wraith, chairman of the UK's Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum, tells Smith. "You squeeze it in one place and it pops out somewhere else."

Meanwhile, there's also a painful trail of human grief. Hwangbum's father still sleeps in his son's bed, and his mother prayed at the scene of his shooting each day for four weeks. "It's like he's always beside me," she told Smith, fighting back tears. "I miss him so much."

Elsewhere in the issue, Michael Calderone shows us how another story has continued after the election. As he reports, it's not just the Republican Party that's struggling to regain its footing, but conservative media as well.

"While outlets like The Daily Caller, Breitbart News and the Washington Free Beacon have sprouted and, in some cases, prospered during President Barack Obama's administration," writes Calderone, "concern is mounting that they and others in the conservative media universe are shedding their credibility by focusing more on supposed scandals than reporting the basics of who, what, when, where, why and how."

Calderone takes us inside the conservative media world, introducing us to those who are trying to reform it, along with those being blamed for turning it into an echo chamber with diminishing influence in the mainstream media.

Robert Costa is one of the former. As the newly-minted Washington editor of the National Review, the 27-year-old rising star wants to focus on reporting. "Conservative journalists are recognizing that they have to offer more to readers beyond talking points and columns," he tells Calderone. "I think that's the evolution right now -- moving toward narrative journalism, investigative journalism. It's a growing process. There will be some growing pains."

This story appears in Issue 41 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store, available Friday, March 22.