Thirty-five thousand euros. This is how much the previous note from Orange assistant Dwight Lodeweges yielded, after national coach Koeman had it auctioned at the end of 2018 for charity. The note stated that defender Virgil van Dijk had to start as a striker with a 2-1 deficit against Germany. The NOS saw the note after the game – the semi-finals of the Nations League, there was something at stake – on the field and was able to add some extra romance to the already memorable escape of the Orange in its reporting. Because just before time it was indeed Van Dijk who equalized.
Last weekend there was another letter from Lodeweges that made the news. This time a NOS cameraman managed to find out by zooming in on the note in his hand which two players would make their appearance in the starting eleven against North Macedonia. What will be the next step, you may think. A cheat drone who scans the training field of the Germans on behalf of the NOS for the people and homeland in search of more information about their plan B, if we run into them again in the next round? However, one note is not the same.
The first note was a find made during journalistic football field work, which also provided extremely relevant information about the game just played.
The second note was just fodder for even more speculation about which eleven players will walk onto the field. Because without context, you never know whether the recorded notes represent an intention or a decision.
Now, of course, football is only an afterthought – although of course the most important in life, as an oft-quoted 19th century German proverb goes. But also in our democracy, questions about the relationship between secrecy and openness are becoming increasingly common.
Thanks to the razor-sharp photo of ANP photographer Bart Maat, we now know that a “function elsewhere” for CDA member Pieter Omtzigt was overlooked in the talks about forming a new cabinet. The stone that was thrown into the Hofvijver almost daily still causes new ripples in the CDA pond.
Meanwhile messaged de Volkskrant about a batch wobbed text messages from Prime Minister Rutte. The most important news you could get out of it was that Rutte had read the article ‘The hammer and the dance’ at the start of the pandemic, just like almost everyone else. He asked if colleague De Jonge could have this looked at, outside the RIVM. It was the kind of news item where the interpretation had to give the message meaning. For was this really his fault?
The expanded Wob, cameras with which you can zoom in endlessly, if necessary indeed a drone to outsmart the Germans. They are great journalistic tools. But whether and how we use them should be a bit more debated. Because, just ask Dwight Lodeweges, not every note is worth the same. One revelation is not the other. And openness and privacy are both important values.