Trust Me, I was There.
She talked in a soft, elegant tone but glowed with excitement when she mentioned straight-from-the-garden ingredients, helping children eat healthier diets or her long-term relationship with California farmers - her "friends," she said.
"Every time I'm buying food, I'm supporting those people who are taking care of the land," the 64-year-old Waters said, brushing back her short, maple-colored hair as a chef in the kitchen behind her chopped fresh shallots. (Personality/Profile Article. Emphasis mine.)
It strikes me that the chance to freely describe a person, using adjectives that aren't descriptive in a solely factual way, is rare in journalism. Perhaps it is an opportunity that shows itself primarily in profile writing. This being said, despite the added freedom in this sense, the writer should still remember to...say it with me everyone....show, not tell.
I would hope that if someone were to describe my tone as elegant in an article, they would then follow by listing something I said that was remotely elegant. Stating that Waters' tone was elegant is a nice touch, I found myself imagining her voice and posture, piecing together her personality myself. However, John Cox may have wanted to back his description with a more intellectual quote, something that had a bit more verbal grace. Of course, being one of the least quotable human beings on the planet, I understand that a great quote isn't always available. If that is the case, then Cox should have only written what he could back up. It shouldn't be a case of, "Her tone was elegant. Just trust me, I was there."
I know this is perhaps a little picky, but it was something about the article that jumped out at me. It also made me more aware of my own descriptions for my profile piece.