Dr. Chavez works on issues of international relations, security, democracy, and the press. He studies models of access to information, accountability and transparency, especially related to the news media in Latin America.
For the last four years, his research focuses on community-participatory models in editorial decision-making in newspapers and its impacts on news and the community. His recent work on the editorial councils of Grupo Reforma newspapers illustrates a shifting model of journalism that empowers civil society and enhances media accountability.
He coordinates the annual Workshop for Editors and Journalists on Latin America in Miami, Florida in collaboration with Florida International University and University of Florida. He has published several articles and books, received multiple grants and awards from the Tinker Foundation, US Department of Education, US Department of State, and NEH. He has been a reviewer for the National Science Foundation, International Education USDE competitions, and a judge for peer-reviewed journals.
He is a regular commentator for national and international news organizations, including: NPR, ABCradio, Michigan Public Radio, Financial Times, BBC, UNIVISION, Radio Mil, and Reforma. He is currently the President of the Association for Borderlands Studies.
He teaches courses on the press, society and government in Latin America, and on the sociology of journalism. He also teaches qualitative research methods in the J-School graduate program.
Dr. Chavez is also the MSU Associate Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. The Center affiliates 140 faculty members, administers undergraduate and graduate specializations, offers academic resources, and links collaborative outreach and research projects.