"We just heard the news."
Translation:Nous venons d'apprendre la nouvelle.
idioms, aka "that's just the way it is"
For news, it's rather English that favors the plural. In French "les nouvelles" is pretty much "current events", so "news" as a whole. One single piece of information that's part of that would be "une nouvelle", while in English it's still "news", somehow.
"entendre la nouvelle" would be said as well, but bears a (relatively subtle) stigma: it implies rumor, word of mouth, rather than objective information. It doesn't mean the news in question is false, just that its veracity could be called into question.