A big thank-you to Tim Harrower, design guru and author of The Newspaper Designer's Handbook, who gave me his take on (what I consider to be) The New York Times' ineffectual redesign.
What concerns me on the home page isn't the layout; it's the typographic inefficiency. Do those story summaries really need bylines? Or links to comments? Or little gray kickers with unhelpful labels like MATTER, PRIVATE LIVES or HIGH & LOW FINANCE? (I'm looking at the current home page as I write this.)
There's too many teensy lightface fonts banging into each other, bogging down the headline scannability. I expect some of that typographic minutiae will get stripped away when the editors realize how cluttered and unnecessary it all is. (Notice how much cleaner the bottom half of the home page is, by comparison.)
For further comparison, take a look at theguardian.com to see what a big difference a little typographical finesse can make. Now, that's a handsome home page.