In corporate reputation, crisis communications, insights, message development, morning embers, online advertising

1) Syria’s Assad family turns to West for glossy PR (The New York Times) — With the help of PR firm Brown Lloyd James, Syrian President Basher al-Assad and his family have sought over the past five years to portray themselves in the Western media as accessible, progressive and even glamorous.

2) Study: Multimedia press releases garner more interest (PR Daily) — A study from PR Newswire shows that multimedia press releases earn 77 percent more views than those that do not.

3) How to market “fracking” to the public (American Public Media) — Researchers at Louisiana State University found that the Bayou State is more likely to support natural gas drilling if harsh words like “fracking” aren’t used in the public debate. Supporters are now looking for ways to change the language surrounding the controversial practice.

4) Online tracking ramps up due to user-tailored advertising (The Wall Street Journal) — Advertisers collect online data about consumers five times more often than they did in 2010.  The rapid rise is a testament to the power of the $31 billion online-advertising business, which increasingly relies on data about users’ Web surfing behavior to target ads.