This article addresses a lacuna in the literature on the ‘emotional turn’ in journalism by examining how emotions shape journalists’ career trajectories. In-depth interviews conducted at two points in time reveal that love leads journalists to accept precarious work. Over the years, cynicism developed. Cynicism shaped careers in two ways: some moved into public relations and expressed emotions of relief. Others left media organisations to work as freelance journalists, expressing emotions of wanderlust and love. We address the ambivalence of love as an emotion. It leads journalists to accept precarious work that prevents investigative journalism. However, love of journalism has led others to pursue careers outside of media organisations that offer more freedom of expression, which is crucial for democracy.