I'm really sorry to hear this change has caused so much frustration. I assure you our team has heard your feedback and will continue to work to make Google News Archive search more useful for your search needs.
You might want to try searching from the link posted below. Here you'll also see a full list of publications included in Google News Archive and be able to browse by publication. When you conduct a search from this page, you'll be able to set a custom date range on the following search results page. Look for "Custom Range..." in the lower part of the left hand column.
As always, we appreciate your patience as we work to sort through these issues.