Before covering the 2016 presidential election, Lake wrote about bourbon thieves, B.B. King's funeral, and a buzzer-beating shot in a college basketball game that actually saved people from a tornado. His story "The Boy They Couldn't Kill" was named one of the 60 best features in the history of Sports Illustrated. 
After seven years in newspapers, Lake wrote his first magazine story, "2 on 5," which won the Henry R. Luce Award for most outstanding story of 2008 across all Time Inc. publications. His writing has also appeared in The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.