Within this article, public service media and community media will be compared with regard to their potential to provide access, interaction and participation of civil society. These potentials will be identified at the level of organizational structures as well as the level of content production and evaluation. The theoretical considerations finally lead to the question whether and how the concept of public value as participation of civil society and accountability of media organizations is applicable to different forms of media organizations and which problems could arise out of that. By discussing how different dimensions of participation are realized within public service media and community media in the Austrian media market, we want to show how different structural prerequisites can also lead to different materializations of participation. In the end, this leads to the conclusion that public service media and community media in Austria do not only realize participation in different ways but thereby also fulfill their roles and tasks in democratic societies differently. We argue that instead of trying to apply a common framework, the output of and values created by public service media and community media have to be evaluated and measured in particular ways.