His coverage has included inner city life and the 1992 riots in Los Angeles as well as the O.J. Simpson trial; the dissident movement and the arrival of Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union, as well as the tumult of post-Soviet Russia; People Power and the fall of President Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines; the uprisings in 1988 and 2007 in Burma and the tortuous saga of Aung San Suu Kyi; genocide, the Khmer Rouge and the death of Pol Pot in Cambodia; massacres in Sri Lanka and East Timor; the wars in Chechnya; the ouster of President Suharto in Indonesia; the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, and coups, killings and popular uprisings in Thailand. He has also been published in The Atlantic, National Geographic, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times Magazine.
He is the recipient of the Walter H. Shorenstein Award for coverage of Asia, the Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence on Reporting on Asia and the Society of Publishers in Asia Award for Excellence in Human Rights Reporting, as well as 10 New York Times Publisher's Awards.
Before entering journalism he spent three years in Vietnam as a civilian employee of the American construction company RMK-BRJ. The son of the novelist and war correspondent Shelley Mydans, and of Carl Mydans, one of the original photographers at Life magazine, he grew up in Japan, Britain, the USSR and New York. He speaks Russian, French and Vietnamese as well as conversational Thai, Khmer and Bahasa Indonesia. Since retiring in 2012 he has continued to contribute occasional articles to the newspaper. He now lives with his wife in New York and Bangkok.