Read/Write Web has an interesting post looking at the use of RSS and social bookmarking (Digg, and Newsvine) by fifteen or so mainstream media outlets.  Their post is similar in many ways to the newspaper and magazine studies we did a few months back that looked at the features on the major player's websites.

Below is Read/Write Web's chart analyzing which outlets are using what:

Two things here:

(1) I think RSS has definitely gone mainstream.  For just about any new website, having an RSS feed has become a basic type of features (all of our new sites include it).  To me, the more interesting question is how these organizations are using RSS.  Full, partial or headline only feeds?  Advertising in feeds?  When we did our own study a few months back we saw that mainstream media was using RSS, but in uninteresting ways.  All feeds were partial and nobody was really experimenting with ads in RSS.  In essence, they were using RSS like an email alert system.  The goal is solely to drive page views and serve ads.  Be interesting to look if that has changed.

(2) The adoption of the Digg/ bookmarklets is interesting.  When we did our newspaper study back in August, only 4 of the top 100 newspapers were using these things.  So I think this feature is definitely picking up momentum.  However, I really don't think it means much.  Inclusion of these features is a sort of cheap way of showing you are down with the whole Web 2.0 thing.  The harder and more rewarding path is to build a community around your own site instead of simply trying to tap into external communities.

Update: Reading the comments over on Read/Write Web, an anonymous poster who claims to work for Time Inc. makes pretty much my same point.  Here is the relevant part of his comment:

Web 2.0 should be about creating and enabling communities and not shuffling them off to whatever becomes the next big social site. Also, I know that it's common to lump RSS into Web 2.0, but please, this is an old technology that is only now gaining traction at the same time as Web 2.0 is ascending. If you don't have an RSS feed at this point (and only 48% of the top magazines do), then you're not even doing Web 1.0 correctly.

Time magazine, as well as most of the top 50 magazines, has done little to empower its community to add value and collective intelligence to its site. To me, this is the essence of Web 2.0. If Web 2.0 is going to truly mean something beyond us interacting with a series of sites that got there first (read MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, Digg, Technorati, "fill in your favorite one here"), then media outlets of all kind – magazines, tv, movie studios, the works – need to recognize that the revolution will happen with or without them: we are no longer just consumers, we are consumer-creators.

 The entire comment thread over there is worth reading and this has also popped up on Techmeme

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.