The Disinformation Games

Your safe space for games and challenges related to misinformation and disinformation!

Case study: Disaster reporting

Every time a disaster happens, an enormous amount of disinformation is disseminated in addition to objective and truthful information. This happens according to recurring patterns. In this case study we investigate what good journalism is, what types of disinformation are disseminated over and over again during disasters, why this happens and how we can recognize this disinformation.

Disaster reporting

Recommended for: higher secondary education students, university students, adult learners

Available building blocks: 5

Tags: disasters, conspiracy theories, disinformation, Notre Dame fire

Tips for educators

Building block 5. The case of the Notre Dame: critical, well-considered and media-wise analysis of disaster reporting

When a disaster happens, everyone wants to get answers to the questions what, why, how, where and who is involved in the disaster. In this block the focus is on fasle information detection and finding reliable information: which websites report objective and reliable reports of a disaster and how can the authenticity of these websites be checked. In case of doubt, we will learn how to use fact checkers, inverse image searches and how to detect false profiles, based on the Notre Dame fire. In a final assignment each student will analyze a specific case of disaster reporting and the producing and spreading of mis- and disinformation.

Suggested resources

1. Specific fact debunking [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive] [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

2. Natural disaster reporting
2.1. Hurricane reporting: [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

2.2. Flood reporting: [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

3. Human disaster reporting
3.1. Amazon fire reporting:  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

3.2. Shooting reporting: [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

(adding links to this list is part of the assignment in this block)

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes represent the competences which learners are expected to develop as a result of the training intervention:

1. Determine how to find reliable information (during disasters)
2. Clarify the elements of reliable information (during disasters)
3. Integrate applications to make the decision whether or not to share reliable information
4. Recognize which facts and accusations and suspects often are re-used in totally different disasters and how to warn people online
5. Design a reliable immediate, short an long term news report on (the Notre-Dame) a disaster with on the internet existing information.
6. Judge the truthfulness of the information applying all the techniques you learned
7. Determine reliable information

Suggested teaching methods

> Use of text, audio, visuals and videos ==> group assignment: discovering techniques used to create mis- and disinformation
> Discussion groups ==> problem solving and clarifying: identify the reasons why mis- and disinformation about the Notre Dame fire is generated and spread
> Individual assignment ==> individual assigned searching and reading: determine and practice the most useful technique to solve a specific question about reliability related to the Notre Dame fire
> Gaming and simulation: group assignment: design a partly false and partly true disaster report, and determine a spreading strategy.
> Gaming and simulation: become a data detective by detecting the true and false information in the reports created by your peers
> Presentation ==> oral report: presentations of the findings

Suggested learning activities

> Group project:
- gather and select reliable information (text, pictures, videos)
- choose the information you would share: eliminate all information (text, pictures, videos) you doubt about for any reason
- create a written, spoken and image report with true only information

> Presentation of the results

De Facto pillars

Motivated cognition: comparing how, why and by whom the information about a disaster is reported, has an effect on the perception of the public.

Systemic causality: the real causes of the disaster are not always immediately visible and clear. This building block shows how easily people believe directly perceptible observations.

Frames and framing: this building block shows that, depending on what people want to read and what they want to believe caused a disaster, they will consult specific sources.

Emphasis and equivalence: It is clear that disinformation on a disaster emphasizes on purpose only certain aspects.

Additional online tools

Mentimeter (or another poll tool)
Presentation software


You have selected a topic from the Disinformation Games area. Please be advised that this area hosts, or links to, resources that contain misinformation or disinformation. The presence of such materials is to assist in developing and sustaining skills for navigating and detecting disinformation. To achieve this goal – and with clear intent – none of the materials are explicitly marked as true or not true.