Are you familiar with RSS?
I've put an RSS feed on my forum. It updates the top news from C]net every 30 minutes automatically. It's pretty cool.
I used this site to get the code. It's free as long as you link back.
There are alot of scripts a very good and simple one is cute news, If you are looking for something specifically for articles best ones are paid ones like
You could try out Mambo, XOOPS, PHPNuke/PostNuke or some similar CMS. I also need to find one for a new article site I am going to work on. I have used all 3 systems in the past, and switched between them a few times. Take a look at the list of features and go from there. As far as the layout is concerned, with Mambo, you can choose if you want a two column layout, or a leading story, then the rest of the articles will be below it. There are always hacks you can download and try out. It also has an article rating system, and a forum addon.