You might want to chat with @kennethrapp on the GitHub repo. I think that's the only one actively working on the news app. Feel free to open issues and PRs as much as you like. I sadly no longer develop on Arc, but I'm happy to answer any questions if you set about trying to build any of these features.
Regarding backups, all data is stored in a single directory on the disk, so just copying a tarball or zip file of it to some other server or S3 should suffice. The only protocol I'd recommend is being wary of switching back and forth between branches. The master (Anarki) branch has diverged in the file format in some subtle ways, and using the stable or official branch or any other forks may cause data loss. At least make a backup first before you try it.