The VJ Movement was founded by Thomas Loudon and Arend Jan van den Beld in the middle of 2007. The dream they had was to create a worldwide network of top class video journalists who would produce stories that go well beyond the headlines. Thomas and Arend Jan wanted the network to consist of people with completely different backgrounds, who shared the passion of telling the world about the countries they lived in.
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 VJ Movement was registered as a company in July 2007 and has since grown, changed, expanded and flourished in many ways. The core of what we do is still based on the very first thoughts that Thomas and Arend had. The network of excellent journalists is something that they are hugely proud of.
The VJ Movement has two siblings now. One is the Cartoon Movement and the other is VJM Visual Intelligence. The Cartoon Movement brings together the best editorial cartoonists from all over the world to show different perspectives to the world. VJM Visual Intelligence offers to produce independent international reporting for media companies, universities, schools, businesses and others who need reliable, quality and independent information.