I thought it was neat that the NY Times would run this sort of "how-to" article. To get tips on writing from those who do it professionally is, I think, pretty cool. I'm glad the Times wrote and ran this.
The article outlines a discussion of descriptive writing, almost as a lesson plan. It includes a warm-up, questions to ask and have discussions about, and an activity that includes creating a "Mad Libs" style fill-in worksheet from a sports article.
Students and teachers alike who are interested in journalism, or writing in general, should take a look at the article.