There are 3 different levels or types of reporting in a project:
- Reporting for the project team: In these status reports, the project manager highlights what has been done so far, who's working on what, and what has to be done on the short run.
- Reporting for the project sponsor: In these status reports, the project manager gives the project sponsor a high level view on the project when it comes to the time (schedule), the cost, and the scope. The project manager will also list (potential) problems in the project including conflicts, risks, and issues that may require the project sponsor's action/attention/involvement.
- Reporting for the project stakeholders: In these status reports, the project manager will give a very high view of the project status to the stakeholders (usually using status indicators, such as green for "everything 's OK", yellow for "challenged", and red for "in danger". Additionally, the project manager lists (in these reports) action points (such as pending change requests) that need some decision making from the stakeholders.
Now about automatic reporting, I think there must be tools by now that do this. As someone with a programming background, I'm sure it's an easy feature to develop, if not already developed (so my point is if you're currently using any online tool, you can ask the creator of this tool to add this feature).