Q&A With Corii and Cari Berg

Corii Berg (Broadcast Journalism and Political Science ’89) and Cari Berg (Communication ’89) met as USC Annenberg students.

Corii is a member of the USC Annenberg Alumni Advisory Board and is Senior Executive Vice President, Business Affairs, Sony Pictures Television. Cari is the founder of Cari Berg Interior Design.

The couple was interviewed by phone following their attendance at the Wallis Annenberg Hall Grand Opening Ceremony.

USC ANNENBERG: What are your impressions of Wallis Annenberg Hall?

CORII BERG: The building is absolutely spectacular. It is an exciting center for students. Having gone through the Journalism School, it’s exciting to see the sort of transformation and focus the University is putting on this school. Its location in the center of campus is telling of the importance of Annenberg. This positions the school to be a central area for all USC students.

USC ANNENBERG: You both generously supported the school by funding the Berg Family Alcove — a.k.a. “The Cove” — a second-floor open collaboration space in the new building. Why?

CARI BERG: There are a few reasons. The part of communication that I still take with me, it really does relate to my prior experiences. In addition to my creative work, there’s a whole other side that is about client relations. I learned those skills at USC, and I learned networking, and all these other things that relate to my life now. And for Corii and I both, this is where we grew up, and where we grew up together. It felt really comfortable for us to respond and donate and support all the programs that Annenberg has.

CORII BERG: We toured the whole building and there are a lot of incredibly dynamic spaces. There’s no way to go wrong. We had the sense that learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom, and it’s the engagement and discussions before classes and after classes that can be even more interesting. It’s like in a workplace environment, where the real meeting happens after a meeting. So, we wanted the more informal space where students could just sit down with each other, or sit down with a professor, and follow up on something, or get more clarity, or ask that next question that they just couldn’t get to in the classroom. This is why we selected the Alcove, which has an open and airy feel to it with a lookout to the rest of the campus. It just felt right for us.

USC ANNENBERG: How has your relationship with the school changed over the years?

CARI BERG: I was a Communication major at the time when Journalism and Communication were separate. I did work on the Daily Trojan. I had Broadcast Journalism major friends. I also had Communication major friends. As a Communication major, I did things like argumentation and debate. At the same time, I got to guest host on friends’ projects for Broadcast Journalism. I think it makes a lot of sense now that the two areas are merged at Annenberg. There is so much crossover.

USC ANNENBERG: How did the two of you meet?

CORII BERG: We met in Journalism 190. It was the general introduction course as a prerequisite to being formally admitted into the Journalism School. We became even closer friends at the Daily Trojan. I asked Cari out on our first date in the Daily Trojan offices, and I ended up being her editor for a semester. There is a lot of Annenberg in our now-23-year marriage.