Chasing Crusoe Webumentary

Sometimes we find links to interesting sites in the most unlikely places. I happened to be surfing through some of the finalists for the Online Journalism Awards, a great place to see what is happening in the world of online journalism. Pawing through various sites and stories on Iraq and New Orleans, I then stumbled across this finely done documentary site that examines the lives and times of the mythical Robinson Crusoe and the Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk, the latter of which is thought by many to be the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s classic novel.

This is a travel story, but perhaps it might fall under the rubric of “unintentional travel” if there is such a thing. I imagine the folks on the ABC show Lost might think so. Anyway, rather than the product of some humongous mega-media-corporo-conglomo-ration, it was put together by students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as some visiting students from Universidad de los Andes in Santiago, Chile.

The site is well-designed and loaded with historical information about these two men and their times. We learn that the character of Crusoe is a blend of fantasy and reality…although given that Crusoe encountered only Friday and not a bunch of beautiful Tahitian women bearing palm-based foot massage oil, I use the term “fantasy” lightly. Regardless, it’s worth checking out and I salute the ambitious young team that put it together.