Got a response from my hubby.
I had cut and pasted your question to Aaron and he typed a response here. If you have specific questions just ask:
Internet Service Providers (ISP's) typically have such a service available for no extra charge. If you're serious about them and want more than just text message use you'll be better off going with a 'premium' news service like www.easynews.com.
Most people that are serious about them use them to get files much like you'd use Kazaa or Winmx. It's a sort of file sharing service. You can take program files and encode them into text, then post them to newsgroups. Once someone else downloads them, these files then need to be re-encoded to make them programs again. This step is necessary since you cannot post binaries (which programs are) to newsgroups - they are a text only medium.
They are a kick ass source for 'warez' like pirated Windows XP CD's, games & stuff. In the hierarchy of warez sources, newsgroups rate pretty high. From best (not easiest) to lowest are:
1) get it copied from a friend who has it
2) get it from ICQ type chat tools that allow file transfer
3) get it from newsgroups
4) ... from peer-to-peer file sharing like Kazaa/WinMX (descendants of Napster)
5) ... websites that post warez (the few good ones get shut down quickly)
Hope this helps!