How do British journalists see their role in society? Do they consider themselves aggressive opponents of those in power? Do they aim to influence politics? To find out, we compared British journalists’ professional attitudes to those of journalists in another country with a similar media landscape but a more muted press: Germany. Our analysis revealed several significant differences between journalists in Britain and Germany. We found that British journalists believe it more important than their German colleagues to confront those in power and hold them to account. But – contrary to expectations – we found no difference between British and German journalists’ eagerness to set the political agenda or influence public opinion.