I think there are plusses and minuses with the new design, but overall I'm in the don't like camp.
For my usual a large-but-not-quite-full-screen browser window I don't quite get the entire vertical height of the home page photo any more, so I need to scroll fairly precisely to look at it.
So all I get "above the fold" on the home page is few adverts, a masthead, some social media buttons, a welcome, and most of a photo: so the only complete variable element to look at is the adverts, which I guess makes them prominent but perhaps too prominent to the point of overshadowing the content.
I appreciate ads are needed to pay the bills, but left hand ads before any content are very rare in my experience -- major ad supported sites seem to use above the masthead and on the right much more than on the left so I presume there's some research behind that. Certainly I find that makes the ads interfere less with the content, which after all is why I visit.