The network news system is a central clearing house for these messages. Instead of mailing a message to everyone on the list, you post it to a newsgroup. The news software will store the message in the newsgroup on your local network, and also exchange postings generated at your site with postings from other sites. When people want to read the latest news, they use a news reader to find messages that have been posted since the last time they checked the newsgroup.
Mailing lists are still common, especially for small, specialized groups. As more people start subscribing to the mailing list (which is maintained by a volunteer member of the group) there are established procedures for converting the mailing list into an officially recognized newsgroup.
A word about mailing lists: there is a standard format for mail addresses for mailing lists. A name that ends in the string `` -request'' is the administrative mailing address. To subscribe to plankton news, you would send mail to plankton-lovers-request, not plankton-lovers.