I noticed this today on lj_dev: Mandatory users. To quote the post:
"Mandatory friends (more controversial) would be a subset of those which couldn't be removed, unless you had the "removemandatory" capability (which paid users would have)... a way to force free users to read at least "news", or something like a "freeusers" community."
My question is this: What makes mandatory friends different from essentially LJ spam?
On one hand, reading the news (to use your example) is a good thing. On the other, if people don't want to read it, they'll either a.) skip over it visually, or b.) filter it out. Either way, it won't get read, so I don't see any point in putting it in there.
My point is this: those who want to read LJ news will add it to their friends list on their own. No need to attempt to force them to read something they don't want (and in all likelyhood won't).
That being said, perhaps (if it's not done already) it should be recommended to new users that they join news communities of some sort. Hell, even make those communities default friends for the user. But at least let them remove it if they want.
Just my thoughts.