always ask for a proper brief. angle, specific points editor/client wants covered, is it for a special issue (“power women issue”, “celebrity babies issue”), do they have any specific resource person in mind they want you to interview? and do they have contact details? do those people know you’re going to call? how many words, deadline. this is to avoid re-writes. if you’re asked for one, you can always tell the editor: well, that’s what you asked for. duh.