The starter kit contains a basic implementation of news and events, and in our experience it's better to keep news and events simple - trying to second guess every possible combination only makes you're developers sad, and the system less predictable. 

Dates

News and Events are Dated Content, they are just like normal content except they have a start (and maybe end) date. these dates determine what order and whether they should be displayed to the user. 

by default the starter kit orders things by the start date, if this is set it uses the date the page was created

Featured Images

News and Events often get listed in a different way to most content and have pictures in the vain hope that someone will be interested.

The Featured Image property allows you to select and then crop the image you wish to use for your news item. the built in image cropper allows you to fiddle about with the image and make it appear just like you want it to.