Just how many words does the Welsh course now have?
I read once that you need about 1,000 words in any language in order to understand a newspaper. Also the app daily notification used to say "You learned so far XY words, take a few minutes to learn some more", but it doesn't anymore. The tree was changed a few months ago- just wondering how many.
I've been keeping a vocabulary list on Memrise - from the course here, I've got around 2,500 words, although that includes some verb conjugations and lots of phrases as well as individual words.
IMO I don't really think 1,000 words would be enough to understand a newspaper, unless you found a very effective radio of "common" and "news" words to learn. I know (according to Memrise) just over 4,000 words / phrases and while I can get the gist of local newspaper articles, I definitely wouldn't say I understand them.
However, after completing the course here I was able to start reading through novellas (written for learners) without much difficulty. I had to look up a lot of words at first, but the course provided a solid enough background in grammar and general vocabulary to still make it manageable.
So you may not be able to read through a paper straight away, but the course will still be a fantastic starting point!
Perhaps around 2000 individual words, more if you count some basic phrases as well - we have no easy way of counting them, I am afraid.
The course teams have no control over the workings of the general Duo software such as the periodic e-mails.
1000 words sounds very low for reading a newspaper, but of course it will vary a lot from paper to paper. The complexity of the language also needs consideration - an introductory course such as this one does not cover all of the vocab and grammar needed to read articles and books with ease. The more you read, speak, watch, and listen in a language, the quicker you will improve.
There is a list of words used in various articles that has been made available by the University of Bangor. Were you to know the first 4000 words from that list it corresponds to about 89% of all words used. Now in that list there are many places names and names of people. But at that level of understanding you're also able to interpret many other new words and plurals from what you already know. Of course you also need other patterns and structures that are not in the course e.g. O'n i'n hapus wrth i mi gerdded adre ( I was happy as I walked home), O'n i'n hapus gan cerdded adre (I was happy walking home) ---[hope these are correct] - but it will all come together the more you read and practice.