I don't think your new layout is working. There are lots of feedbacks to say so.
On top of that, here are my professional insights which you can improve on (I'm a fullstack web dev):
-first there was nothing wrong with the old layout. At the very least I think you should listen to your users and just roll back.
-I liked the carousel before that allows me to consume more content. Content selection was good too. the problem with right now is that, everything is big and relatively close to each other's huge size, so now I don't know which is important or not. Everything is big, hence everything is important, which then makes everything normal priority.
-If you can filter my IP, you'll notice that I consumed more content before with the old layout. Because it worked. Now you have a top 5 going on, which is a big hit or miss with the user's interest. (compared to before where if I didn't like the first 5, i'd just scroll right). Now you made it top 5, then a never-ending list of articles which i don't know where it belongs in the heirarchy. It's massive and it takes the most space. so are these the top stories? if so, then wtf is the top 5 for?
-Content selection, I've noticed, are more spread out now that it's a hit or miss (mostly miss) for me if the contents are interesting or not. I don't know if it's your content or if it's the algo.
-when I click on something in the home page, it loads in a modal window. This is honestly one of the most irritating things you had to do. One, there's no advantage to this. I think you wanted to do this so it's easy load for contents. But it's self-defeating. You just load everything altogether in first pass just to get that illusion, same thing.
-no one was complaining about the speed of the pages. I wasn't. If there were a lot, then I think you should review and focus on the OVERALL web perf, not create a modal window to fake this.
-the other ******* irritating thing is when you click on the side, it 'exits' the modal window. It's fuuuuucking irritating with a passion. Again, this modal was uncalled for. Also, I visit your site when I'm at work, I'm on a mac. I have 3 monitors. Sometimes I alt-tab, sometimes I click on the window to switch. Now if I wanted to switch back to my browser (with the article i'm reading) I click anywhere to return and control the browser. but when I do that, it exits the article I'm reading. It's fuuucking annoying.
-You know very well already that this is a bad idea. I know you know. You know it's bad due to SEO and direct links. That's why you tried to solve it by having ANOTHER layout that just loads it like a simple page, for link sharing. YOU HAVE TWO layouts. Why do you have TWO layouts? why don't you just have the latter!?! What's wrong with A PAGE. The net is built on this! If you have two, that means one's working, one isn't. Nix the one not working and improve the one that is!!!
I really tried to be calm, sorry. but these no-no mistakes are just....~I shouldn't be expecting this in a big corporate website. freelance noob job, sure. Here, NO.