This study discusses how students taking their first year at three Swedish schools of journalism view their future professional roles. Furthermore, the ideals of the students are compared with the professional attitudes expressed by their teachers and the objectives described in the course syllabi of the three journalism programmes. Data were collected using a student survey, interviews with teachers and the syllabi of the basic courses given by the three schools of journalism. The professional role most students identified with was the Storyteller. However, the reality that many journalists face involves reduced creative opportunities in the newsroom. Instead, the swiftness of producing news within given timeframes is demanded. This may suggest that the ideal professional role of aspiring journalists is in conflict with the demands they are likely to meet when entering the job market. The study also indicates divides and conflicting positions between the students’ and the educators’ journalistic ideals, between teaching practices and the content of the syllabi, and between educational ideals and learning outcomes. The results suggest that both students and their teachers want to maintain high-quality professional standards and traditional core values of journalism.