Below is the ticket response I received in case anyone else has a similar issue.
The error that you experience is due to the fact that you use the
DetailsViewHyperLink control. This control can only be used in controls
that are inside a ContentView control(like NewsWidget). The problems is
that DetailsViewHyperLink is trying to get information from the
ContentView control, about how to build the link to the detail
views,e.g. it checks if it should point to the same page or another
page, also some more details about the URL build logic. In your case it
seems that you have implemented the link logic inside the user control,
so you can simply use asp:HyperLink instead of DetailsViewHyperLink.
About extending the views that the NewsWidget can work with-> it is
still possible to add a new type of list view(Implemented as
UserControl) to the NewsWidget through our configuration. It is best if
this new view implements IViewControl, so you can have access to the
settings inside the NewsWidget like filters, default sorting, paging
settings, page where to open the details etc.
To add the new view to the NewsView widget you need to change something
inside the NewsView.config in the App_Data/Sitefinity/Configuration/
This is also going to be possible to do very easy from the UI configuration settings in the next offical release of Sitefinity.
here is how this config looks
<add version="4.0.1098.0" name="OpenAccessDataProvider" />
///Add after providers section:
<view viewVirtualPath="~/MyCustomView.ascx" viewName="MyCustomView"
viewVirtualPath="~/MyCustomView.ascx" => says where the user control
is in your web site folders. After you add this to the configuration it
can be set in the NewsWidget designer as the default List View by going
into NewsWidget Advanced settings and setting the property
MasterViewName to MyCustomView.