It was founded by B. A. Santamaria and first published in September 1943, under the name Freedom; it later changed its name to Australia's national news-weekly. It changed its name to its current name in 1946–47.
According to the Kempsey Library listing, News Weekly provides analysis of current cultural, social, political, educational, and economic trends in Australia, focusing on ethics.
In 1955, it had a circulation of 30,000 copies. The magazine's current editor is John Ballantyne.