The Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting has been presented since 1998, for a distinguished example of explanatory reporting that illuminates a significant and complex subject, demonstrating mastery of the subject, lucid writing and clear presentation. From 1985 to 1997, it was known as the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism.
The Pulitzer Prize Board announced the new category in November 1984, citing a series of explanatory articles that seven months earlier had won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. The series, "Making It Fly" by Peter Rinearson of The Seattle Times, was a 29,000-word account of the development of the Boeing 757 jetliner. It had been entered in the National Reporting category, but judges moved it to Feature Writing to award it a prize. In the aftermath, the Pulitzer Prize Board said it was creating the new category in part because of the ambiguity about where explanatory accounts such as "Making It Fly" should be recognized. The Pulitzer Committee issues an official citation explaining the reasons for the award.