Welcome to At The End Of the Day. I’m Hannah Sung and I write this newsletter for a people-first perspective on the news. To support the launch of an ATEOD podcast, become a patron today.
Hi! Glad to see you! I’m always kind of amazed that I can send an email late on a Friday and that so many of you open it on the other end.
Of course, I send it on a Friday because a) that’s when I can squeeze in the time and b) by the end of the week, I need to reflect.
Today, this newsletter serves two purposes:
To tell you about my summer sprint
To look back a little at what we’ve experienced together through this newsletter
I know this range in topics means that readers come from all walks of life. And it’s been a long pandemic. So let me tell you about how it all began.
I started writing the day I saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau address the nation in a live press conference about COVID-19. It was March 2020, and I may or may not have watched Contagion that very night. Let’s just say I really needed to debrief everything that was happening as I was wiping down groceries and canceling all my dinner plans.
As we closed our doors to the world, I started writing this newsletter but I didn’t build it alone.
I had long conversations with my friends Matthew and Christian, people with whom I love to think out loud. Christina, an editor I respect so much, gave me a huge boost of confidence by partnering this newsletter with Best Health1 (Christina has moved on to a new job but Best Health and I still work together to this day).
I asked my friend Ishani,2 a brilliant editor, to help make me coherent and hold my hand (she said yes!). When her life became busy with a move and new job, she introduced me to Laura, who is a joy and crack editor and edited this newsletter you’re reading right now.
I’ve grown a collective of newsletter friends who meet for Zoom drinks to talk about how much we love doing this: Stacy, Wing, Sarah and Mishal.3
And I’m having new, exciting conversations with an old friend, Arianne, who is thinking out many ways that the business element of At The End Of the Day might grow so it can become a sustainable part of my work life.
When I began in March 2020, I signed up my closest 10 friends without even asking (and they haven’t unsubscribed yet *proud pose*). Soon, people I didn’t know in real life began subscribing, too. And some of you have written me back enough times that I feel we’ve become friends. Is it possible I’m emerging from the pandemic with more community than I had going in?
The last 16 months (OH WHO’S COUNTING?) have been a lot. Some days I feel like I’m working the day job, the night job, the homeschool job, all the jobs. But I’m not blindly trying to be more productive. It’s the opposite. I’m trying to be very intentional about the shape of my everyday work life.
The point of starting this newsletter is to contribute what I can to a news-informed cultural conversation, and direct the flow of my work skills toward the change I want to see in the world.
This means that during the pandemic, weirdly, I started two businesses. This was not on my pandemic bingo card. But it is, apparently, what happens when you chase the ideal everyday work experience.
One business I am building is a podcast company with my friends. It’s called Media Girlfriends and throughout this pandemic, I’ve been working away on recording, editing and scripting with several teams of great people.4
The other enterprise, of course, is this newsletter. And because you’ve signed up to receive it, I really feel that I’m doing this venture with you.
I often think about the conversations I’ve had through At The End Of the Day.
Those thoughts power me forward.
🏥 Dr. Naheed Dosani on health justice (this is what real leadership looks like)
😷 Medical anthropologist Madeleine Mant on the historical longview of this pandemic and social change
⚖️ Thinking about personal responsibility and systemic change in a time of confusion
🥗 What’s this meal really worth? What it’s like to be a service worker in a pandemic
💔 How racist policies in the past evolve to be violence in the news today My reflection on anti-Asian racism and the targeted murders of Asian women in Atlanta
And I loved partnering with businesses I admire, such as The Real Food Kitchen (who give their staff paid sick leave and fed my children when they were mere babes), Cheekbone Beauty, an Indigenous-owned make-up company on a mission, Reel Asian film festival who brought you Minari before it was available in Canada and the good bookworms of Simon & Schuster Canada — thanks for supporting ATEOD and keeping things fun with giveaways.
I wish you could hear the voices of all the people I connected with for the newsletters I wrote during this time. Some of the topics were heavy, but I promise, we also laughed.
This brings me to what I’m calling my summer sprint.
The goal of my summer sprint is to grow the Patreon to $2000/month so that we can launch an At The End Of the Day podcast later this year. I am just shy of 25% of the way there!
If you’d like to hear this podcast, there are many ways to support:
💰 Contribute to the Patreon (pay what you wish)
📱 Share my newsletter on your socials
💌 Forward this newsletter to a friend
I’ll be writing my newsletter throughout the summer but I’m also trying to take time to live life outside, regroup and come back to the fall with energy to create that podcast.
Thanks for being on this journey with me. It’s not just email during a pandemic, it’s so much more than that. Being in community with others is how we can make sense of it all.
You can write to me anytime by hitting reply to this email! And visit me on IG.
Thank you for reading and take care out there,
✨✨✨ This newsletter is edited by Laura Hensley ✨✨✨
Loved interviewing Celina Caesar-Chavannes for Best Health and ATEOD earlier this year. This version went in my newsletter, with a different version in the magazine. It’s super-fun to do this work with an editor as great as Christina Vardanis.
I Moved Back In With My Dad During The Pandemic. Here’s What I Learned, Chatelaine. I dare you to NOT devour this like a plate of Triscuits, cheese and grapes. A personal essay by ATEOD editor Ishani Nath
One podcast I’ve been working on from my home office is rolling out right now. It’s called Stress Test, Season 3 and it’s been a pleasure to work with a great team of journalists. The latest episode, called What’s a Wedding Worth? speaks to the way we’re rethinking many aspects of our lives during the pandemic, in this instance, the commodification of weddings.