In addition to backticks command, command substitution can be done with $(command) or "$(command)", which I find easier to read, and allows for nesting.

OUTPUT=$(ls -1)
echo "${OUTPUT}"

echo "${MULTILINE}"

Quoting (") does matter to preserve multi-line variable values ; it is optional on the right-hand side of an assignment, as word splitting is not performed, so OUTPUT=$(ls -1) would work fine.