The internet, and particularly social media, have brought far-reaching change to journalism by calling into question how journalists’ traditional roles are perceived. We introduce social identity theory (Tajfel and Turner 1986) ― specifically the concept of professional identity ― as a complementary approach to study journalistic role conceptions from a dynamic perspective. Building on existing findings in both research streams (professional identity and journalistic role conceptions), we undertook a qualitative study to explore the interplay between journalists’ role perceptions, core values of journalism, and ongoing change in the industry. Our analysis of 26 interviews conducted in a Swiss newsroom provided an affirmative answer to the question whether journalists’ professional identity serves as a resource that helps them cope with uncertainty. By identifying different identity negotiation mechanisms we illustrate journalists’ sensemaking of developments in their work environment. We show that journalists who rely on an elitist, traditional role concept construct online journalism as a threat to quality journalism and journalists’ personal status. Another group of journalists with more service-oriented and solutions-oriented role concepts strives to improve newspaper’s online journalism. These journalists engage in creating new, adapted role scripts and value definitions.