I’m using Discourse also as comment engine for some of my Wordpress sites, using the WP-Discourse plugin. That works really great.
Generally this would also be a perfect email notification tool for new articles as Discourse produces awesome notification emails.
I’d love to have the ability to set the announcement / portal news category as watched for each user, but with the limitaion that this “common watch” is only valid for the first post of a new topic. Any new post in the announcement category will immediately inform the users about the news by email, but they would not be annoyed by emails for discussion replies to the initial post (unless they decide to watch the particular topic).
This might be of use also apart from news/announcement categories. If a user is highly interested in getting a notification of new topics of a category but wants to decide if he’d like to follow a particular thread in detail or not, an option “watch new topics” for a category could be also useful.