The Cartoon Movement was founded by Thomas Loudon and Arend Jan van den Beld. They had founded the VJ Movement, based on their dream to bring together some of the best video journalists in the world and to offer them a chance to show their perspectives on world affairs on one platform.
In the process of doing that, they met with Dutch editorial cartoonist Tjeerd Royaards. They asked him if he knew of any networks of top class cartoonists who brought together their perspectives in one platform. It turned out that no such thing existed.
Thomas and Arend asked Tjeerd to start bringing together cartoonists and to invite them to publish their work on the VJ Movement platform. In the first year the network quickly grew to more than 50 artists, who generated a dynamic of their own. That very specific dynamic was the justification for the creation of a separate platform that was called Cartoon Movement. Tjeerd took charge of the platform that is based on the same journalistic philosophy that Thomas and Arend formulated to develop the VJ Movement.
Thomas was the first Dutch correspondent based in Iran since the 1979 revolution. He was also the first Dutch correspondent to work as a video journalist. He saw the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York on TV in his Tehran office and immediately realised that the world and the region he worked in were in for some stormy weather. After three years in Iran Thomas moved to Egypt and later to Jordan. He worked as a video journalist for the Dutch public news NOS, but he also contributed to CNN, BBC, Canal 13 in Chile, Asia TV in Singapore and many more.
Thomas was triggered by the question why he and his colleagues from other channels always produced completely different stories based on the same facts. On assignment in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza and elsewhere, he had many discussions with fellow journalists that made him realize that they were all telling a true story, but because they all had different backgrounds and because their channels all had different editorial priorities, they were all telling a different truth. Hence our tag-line "There is more than one truth".
What does this mean for the term "objectivity" in journalism? Thomas came to the conclusion that objectivity is an illusion. The best that can be achieved is balanced coverage. That can be done by offering very different voices a chance to come together in one place. The thought appealed to him but he needed a person who could turn a thought into a plan that can be executed. That is the core competence of Arend Jan.
Arend Jan always felt a strong responsibility towards the society that he lived in and - as an avid consumer of news - very often wondered what the media were not telling him. As longtime friends they met one evening in a restaurant in The Hague to discuss the thoughts that Thomas had about international reporting. Arend Jan immediately realised that he had an opportunity to deal with his questions about the media, using the experience he had gathered in other industries.
At Philips International, Consumer Electronics and Corporate IT, Arend built up extensive experience in the field of information management. Here he developed his ability to turn his ideas about knowledge and information management into online platforms. Under his guidance Philips became one of the world's front-runners in the development and use of online platforms worldwide, in call centers. As an independent consultant, he was hired by large organizations like Achmea Insurances, The Central Dutch Government, The Chambers of Commerce and again Philips. Now he saw an opportunity to combine his skills with his interests.
The Cartoon Movement went live in December 2010. The network of editorial cartoonists who contribute to the platform is unique and unparalleled in the world. To the founders, the series of cartoons that deal with one topic in so many different ways are proof of the added value of the journalistic philosophy that they once came up with.