In your woebegone Wednesday media column: Richard Branson's allegedly stalking Playboy, dead mag foto fun, more ominous signs on the NYT's Social Media Editor, and gag outsourcing is the new "let's hope it doesn't turn into real outsourcing":

Rumor is that international playboy (wait for the joke to reveal itself) Richard Branson is interested in buying Playboy Enterprises (there it is). Last week the rumor was Hef might sell for $300 million and 72 blonde non-virgins. We cannot think of a more appropriate owner than Branson, so go for it! (Although David Carr says it's not happening).

This is a photo of writer Michael Idov originally taken for the aborted Russian rich-people magazine Snob. Bask in it.
UPDATE: In fact, Michael Idov informs us that Snob is not dead at all! He writes:

The shoot was justly discarded because I had a story running in the same issue as the story that mentioned me. You'd agree that having both would be a bit too much. Even for a publication called Snob.

It's also not a rich-folks magazine, incidentally (it's a kind of solemn scuppie post-glossy along the lines of Monocle and Good; the title is ironic), but everyone makes that mistake, and they've certainly set themselves up for it.

The Observer has more on NYT Social Media Editor Jennifer Preston, solidifying the impression that, while she is clearly an enormously qualified journalist and newspaper editor, she perhaps is not so up on this "social media" thing. "Jennifer is extremely enthusiastic," says NYT digital guru Jonathan Landman. "She's not an expert to start with, but I don't think that's a terrible handicap here in real ways. Nobody's an expert." Really, nobody?

The Hartford Advocate, an alt-weekly, decided to outsource an entire issue's worth of writing to India, for fun. It didn't save them money, and they're not advocating it as a media strategy; it was just kind of a goof. If management likes it too much, they may come to regret it.