The emphasis on visual allows for a more appealing homepage, in my opinion. However, the major drawback of this approach is that the visual has to convey what the story means. In some cases, it’s difficult to tell a story just by one image.
I wonder why they didn’t employ more interactive features. The centerpiece is static. It could be an opportunity for a slideshow of several stories. Perhaps they felt that feature would have been too distracting. I also would have found it beneficial to have the navigation stick at the top as you scroll.