In order to rank a news site, you first have to acknowledge that you are competing with the big boys such as ABC and NYTimes. In order to rank against them, you are going to need to have excellent articles with longtail keywords related to a search. And you're probably going to need content and stories that the major sites haven't jumped on yet or published.
For instance, a short tail keyword such as example.com/thePatriots will have a much harder time ranking for anything than a long tail keyword such as example.com/The-Patriots-Lose-The-Superbowl-After-Missing-A-Field-Goal
Being a successful news site operator is similar to being a successful journalist. You want to break the biggest stories that everyone is interested in and that are most relevant before everyone else does.