Joseph Pulitzer, known as one of the greatest newspaper publishers in US history, established the award as part of his will.
Currently, there are 21 categories and five fellowships.
Journalism: Public Service, Local Reporting of Breaking News, Investigative Reporting, Explanatory Reporting, Local Reporting, National Affairs, International Affairs, Feature Writing, Commentary, Criticism, Editorial Writing, Cartoon or Portfolio of Cartoons, Breaking News Photography, Feature Photography.
Letters: Fiction, History, Biography or Autobiography, Original Verse, Nonfiction.
Drama: Theatrical play.
Music: Musical Composition.
In 20 of the 21 categories, the winners receive a $10,000 cash award and a certificate. The Public Service category winner of the Journalism competition is the only one awarded a gold medal. This prize is always awarded to a newspaper, not to an individual person.
Official rules for entry can be found on the Pulitzer website
Joseph Pulitzer is born in Mako, Hungary. He comes to the United States in the 1860s as a substitute for an enlistee in the US Army during the Civil War.
1878 - Pulitzer becomes the owner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
1883 - Pulitzer purchases the New York World. The Dispatch and the World become huge successes due to their crusades against public and private corruption, and sensationalistic "yellow journalism."
1904 - He sets aside $2 million in his will to create a graduate school for journalism at Columbia University, and calls for the creation of a prize system in various creative areas.
1911 - Pulitzer dies aboard his yacht.
1912 - Columbia University School of Journalism is founded.
June 4, 1917 - The first Pulitzer Prizes are awarded. There are four journalism awards, four in letters, one in education, and four traveling scholarships.
1922 - The poetry category is established.
1943 - The music category is added.
1950 - Gwendolyn Brooks is the first African-American to win a Pulitzer. She wins in the Poetry category for "Annie Allen."
1962 - The non-fiction category is added.
1999 - Newspapers are allowed to use online presentations to supplement their entries to the public service category.
2002 - Cash awards for winners are increased from $7,500 to $10,000.
2005 - It is announced that newspapers that also publish a print edition can submit entries solely published online, but online-only newspapers still will not be allowed to enter.