In other pursuits, Byrne has served as a freelance writer and consultant, a blogger for ChicagoNow, a regular contributor to various e-publications such as the Chicago Daily Observer and RealClearPolitics, a public relations director for a Fortune 50 company and an officer in the U.S. Navy.
Byrne was born, raised and educated in Chicago and its suburbs. He received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and political science from Marquette University, a masters degree in urban affairs from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and was a Russell Sage Post-Graduate Fellow in Social Science Writing at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He and his wife Barbara have two children, Kati and Don, and five grandchildren, Lisa, Leia, Ava, Julia and Joel.
Among his recognitions are Peter Lisagor awards, Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick-O-Type awards and three nominations by his paper for Pulitzer Prizes.