Kreeti Lite is a free news theme with a good set of options.
The homepage can contain a newsticker, popular tags section, several featured blocks, and other posts sections. There are few banner spots. In the free version of the theme you can put ads as images only.
You can choose the sidebar position, add breadcrumbs, minutes to read counter, related articles.
Archives can be in a grid or classic blog layout.
In addition to the primary sidebar, there are widgets in the footer and a widgetized off-canvas sidebar.