As the question says. I'm working on a news site, and authors should be able to create a full piece and be able to chose whether to publish or not. How can you do this?
You can use the Save Draft module. It adds a 'Save as Draft' Button to the node_form for content types, allowing the user to click the 'Save as Draft' button to save the node as a draft. It has it own separate permissions aside from the 'administer content' core permission.
The Publish Content module could be useful.