Here is my second spread redesign. I like the simplicity of the left page, which is quite a difference from the convoluted neon pop-art design I used on my previous design. I made the headline small, but it doesn't lose importance because of all the white space surrounding the graphic and the text "head"-line. HA. While I hate excessive drop-shadows as much as the rest of you, I think the shadow behind the headline mirrors the shadow of the dollar bill nicely, and the page would lose depth without it.
I hate all the text on the right, but as much as I wanted to I just couldn't bring myself to press the delete key. I instead isolated the two opening paragraphs in what I realize is an unorthodox, and some may say improper, orientation. The shading and justification of the different boxes of text help separate the paragraphs and keep the page looking neat, while at the same time leading the eye down and to the main subject of the first part of the story. While I know doing so many text-wraps on body text is a big no-no, in my humble opinion I think the textual hierarchy (from the colored box with sans-serif to the square white box with smaller serif type to the photograph) is assembled in a way that is still easily read and followed.
The second spread stayed very similar. I liked the asymmetrical text orientation, and only changed some fonts and colors around to better fit the feel of the new design. The new green color that is used throughout is much more serious and monetary.
On a purely visual level, though there is a lot of text on the right side of the opening spread, I think there is enough white space that the story doesn't look too intimidating. The staggered opening paragraphs ease the reader into the story slowly and smoothly. Let me know what you think. And, please do disagree!