Apple is giving publishers new Map and Place components to let authors display locations relevant to the content, including adding pins to highlight especially important places. Additionally, publishers will have complete choice of the cover artwork used for their channels. Previously, only special Apple News partners would be able to do this and everyone else had to hope Apple pulled good images from articles for the cover art. Lastly, publishers have more control over adding older posts without making them appear as though they had just been published live.
In general, the updates look like they should help publishers take advantage of Apple News more. How much that will help publishers is still up in the air though until Apple convinces users that Apple News is a better option than one of the dozens of news apps already on the market.