Alves began his academic career in the United States in March 1996, after 27 years as a professional journalist, including seven years as a journalism professor in Brazil. He was elected in 1995 by approximately 200 candidates as the first holder of the Knight Chair in International Journalism, created by a $ 1.5 million grant from the James L. and John S. Knight Foundation. In 2002, Alves received a grant from the Knight Foundation to create the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, a four-year project to work on training programs with journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Knight Center resides in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, but it is connected to thousands of journalists around the hemisphere. For more than a decade, Alves was a foreign correspondent for the Jornal do Brasil based in Spain, Argentina, Mexico and the United States. In 1991, he created the first online and real-time financial news service, the first of its kind in Brazil. In 1994, Alves managed the launch of the online version of Jornal do Brasil, which made it the first Brazilian newspaper available online.
At the University of Texas at Austin, Alves develops three main areas of teaching and research: international journalism (with emphasis on the work of correspondents abroad); journalism in Latin America (especially in the struggle for a free press); and internet journalism (the creation of a new journalistic genre for the digital media). Alves is a member of different boards and advisory boards of different international organizations. Journalist since he was 16 years old, Alves obtained a B.A. in journalism from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He was the first Brazilian awarded by the Nieman Fellowship to spend an academic year (1987-1988) at Harvard University. He teaches journalism since he was 21 years old, in institutions such as Fluminense Federal University and Gama Filho University, in Rio de Janeiro.