It's different question. If I need something like this, I would do this:
- check in e_search.php in news plugin if there is some image, yes, it is: $res['image']
- look at actual code and see that that search results start with class search-results
- try to find where this is used - in search.php. After looking at code I would find that content is in variable $ps['text'] and it is from parsesearch method in search_handler.php in e107_handlers
$res['image'] is not used at all there. You can try to use $res['pre_title'] but it would require to change e_search.php file in news.
I write those details because I can be wrong and there is some really simple way how to do it. In my opionion is not possible without changing core file. But why there is prepared $res['image'] ?