Norty-the-BartenderrZay N. Smith is a Chicago newspaper reporter, columnist and author.

Previously known for his work at the Chicago Sun-Times, he wrote a popular column from 1995 to 2008 called QT, which was a mixture of humor and commentary.

The column continues on the Internet.

Before starting the QT column, Smith worked as an investigative reporter on stories ranging from laetrile smuggling to religious cults, as a foreign correspondent on such stories as the pilgrimages of Pope John Paul II to Poland and as a writer of major features.


Smith earlier worked with Pam Zekman during the 1978 Mirage Tavern investigation, in which the two Sun-Times reporters, along with the Better Government Association, ran a bar on Chicago’s Near North Side while hidden photographers took pictures of officials accepting bribes.

The project was the subject of a book, The Mirage (Random House), written by Smith and Zekman.

Smith is a graduate of Lawrence University, did postgraduate work at the University of Iowa and has taught at Northwestern University.

He is the father of two sons, Bryant and Zachary.