We want a very clean and functional homepage.
1) Header and footer.
We don't have a logo, so anything you can do with the text, even a stylized font, for the header would be great. The footer should just be a standard footer with links for endpoints like "About", "Contact", etc, followed by a copyright line.
2) Story block <- main content
Main content will be delivered from the homepage in a Digg-style list of "story blocks" (for an example of what this looks like, take a look at the stories on Digg.com). Would like this to be simple, but informative. Fields and text that will be available for display will be...
-teaser (200 - 300 characters long)
-thumbnail (optional, depending on story)
-source feed favicon
*see attached file for sample sketches for a story block (I'm no artist, so your version doesn't have to match this. I'm just including this as an example. The same goes for the layout sketches as well).
3) Popular Stories
We would like a "Popular Stories" section in the sidebar, again like Digg's "Top in All Topics" section on Digg.com.
Simple standard pagination icons located at the bottom of the page.
5) Ad Placement
The main income for this site would be ad-based. I'd like to see as many ads to be placed on the homepage as is tasteful and doesn't clutter the layout or interfere with functionality.